Australian pension fund settles landmark climate lawsuit

(Reuters, 2 Nov 2020) REST has agreed to align its portfolio to net zero by 2050 and assess and report climate risks, in response to a claim filed by a 25-year-old member.

One of Australia's largest pension funds on Monday 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.

REST acknowledged in a statement that climate change would lead to catastrophic economic and social consequences and that the phenomenon was a "material, direct and current financial risk" to the superannuation fund.

The closely watched case could influence how global funds manage such risks in 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.

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Reuters, 2 Nov 2020: Australian pension fund settles landmark climate lawsuit