Guild Trustee Services, which includes GuildSuper, has moved further on responsible and ethical investment with the announcement that it has stopped investing in shares of companies that  manufacture tobacco and companies associated with the production of landmines and cluster bombs.

It’s good news for fund members, knowing they’ll no longer invest in industries that have a negative effect on society.

It also bodes well in terms of healthy investment performance. According to the Responsible Investing Benchmark Report 2017, responsible investment funds - that’s funds that invest in such sectors as healthcare and avoid ties to industries involved with weapons and tobacco - are largely outperforming their average mainstream counterparts year on year*.

Super members as shareholders

Did you know that every member of GuildSuper also invests in hundreds of different companies? That’s because the contributions your employer makes to your super, and any additional contributions you make, are all invested on your behalf to help make your balance grow. The contributions of all members are combined together, so substantial investments can be made across a range of industries to mitigate the risk and safeguard investment returns.

At any one time, your super fund may be invested in companies involved in anything from agriculture to artificial intelligence, or high tech manufacturing to property development, both in Australia and around the world.

What’s a ‘good’ investment?

In the past investment advisers, including those who managed super funds, focused solely on financial returns as the criteria for selecting which companies to invest in. If the company’s share price increased, then it was a ‘good’ investment.

But today, many people have a wider definition of what represents a ‘good’ investment. They want to know more about how their money is being invested. For instance, what industries are their funds supporting? And what ‘good’ are those companies doing in society, beyond generating profits?

Why divestment from tobacco?

GuildSuper have made the decision to cease investing in shares of companies that manufacture tobacco. The reasons are clear. It’s estimated that lung cancer kills around 12,000 Australians each year with 85% of those cases related to smoking. And world-wide tobacco and its effects are recognised as a public health catastrophe, and forecast to kill up to a billion people by the end of this century**. 

Besides the ethical and health issues, the potential liabilities trailing from the negative impacts on public health, also means the tobacco industry may soon be a much less attractive financial investment as well. 

As a fund associated with healthcare, GuildSuper believes that investing in companies whose model involves addiction to a lethal drug is not in line with the values of the Fund or its members. 

A new partnership with Tobacco Free Portfolios

As a result of its tobacco divestment, GuildSuper has become a partner of Tobacco Free Portfolios. This world-wide group, supported by the World Health Organisation, aims to raise awareness and advance tobacco free investment as part of its public health campaign. Look out for the Tobacco Free Portfolios logo on GuildSuper communications in future.


A ban on nukes as well

Similarly, due to their potential to cause violent death and suffering on a mass scale, a decision was made to not knowingly invest in shares in companies which are involved, directly or indirectly, in the manufacture of landmines and cluster bombs, or the production of components and services for use in their production

Where’s your super invested? 

As a member of GuildSuper, you can see how your funds are invested, by logging into Member Online. Or for more information about all your investment options, check out the Member PDS and Investment Guide.

*ABC News:
**The Conversation:

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