25-year old forced Australia’s biggest super funds to commit to net-zero emissions for his investments by 2050

One of Australia’s largest pension funds, Rest Super funds, on Nov 2, agreed to settle a landmark climate risk litigation filed by a 25-year-old member who alleged it was failing to protect his retirement savings against climate change.

In 2018, Mark McVeigh sued Rest, his superannuation fund, in the Federal Court after it failed to provide him with information on how it was managing the risks of climate change.

REST acknowledged in a statement that climate change would lead to future and trigger similar cases internationally, where asset owners face increased scrutiny in relation to climate change policy and risk reporting.

“Today’s settlement gives me, and REST’s almost two million members, the reassurance that we need to know that our retirement savings will be invested responsibly in the face of the climate crisis,” said plaintiff Mark McVeigh, who brought the case to the Federal Court of Australia in 2018.

Under the settlement, REST agreed to align its portfolio to net zero by 2050 and report against the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

The A$57 billion ($40 billion) retail industry superannuation fund also said it would conduct scenario analysis to inform its investment strategy and strategic asset allocation, disclose its entire portfolio holdings and advocate investee companies to comply with the goals of the Paris Agreement.