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HESTA boss calls out ASX 300 companies without net-zero targets

Here’s which ASX 300 shares the $64 million super fund wants to see set 2050 net-zero targets…
The post HESTA boss calls out ASX 300 companies without net-zero targets appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia. –

The leader of a $64 billion super fund says the fund is pushing 11 S&P/ASX 300 Index (ASX: XKO) companies to clean up their act on carbon emissions.

Speaking to the Smart Energy Council’s Global Race to Zero Summit last night, HESTA chief executive Debby Blakey said the fund is worried Australia and Australian companies are lagging behind the rest of the world in the transition to decarbonisation.

She said: “The cost of lagging decarbonisation, and then a sudden, disorderly transition, really does endanger the financial future, and the quality of life, of all Australians…”

And to avoid such a transition, HESTA asserts reaching net-zero by 2050 is necessary to protect Australia’s economic position.

Blakey said: “To achieve carbon reduction in our portfolio means we must actively engage with the companies we own. Just 11 of the ASX 300 companies make up 76% of emissions, and these companies are the focus of our engagement.”

Let’s take a look at which ASX 300 companies HESTA wants to see reach net-zero.

The most carbon-polluting ASX 300 companies

Here are the 11 companies responsible for 76% of the ASX 300’s carbon emissions, according to HESTA’s Climate Change Report.

It likely comes as no surprise that Australia’s biggest carbon polluter topped the list.

AGL Energy Limited (ASX: AGL) took out the top spot. Fellow energy producers Santos Ltd (ASX: STO), Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL), and Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) also made the list.

Also overrepresented were Iron ore producers. Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO), South32 Ltd (ASX: S32), and BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) are among the top emitters.

Additionally, Australia’s largest airline, Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN), also made the list.

However, 3 companies among the ASX 300’s top polluters don’t have concrete plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. They are Incitec Pivot Ltd (ASX: IPL), BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX: BSL), and Alumina Limited (ASX: AWC).

In its latest sustainability report, Incitec stated it’s looking to examine pathways towards zero operational emissions by 2050.

BlueScope also wants to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Although, it believes new technology needs to be created before it can do so.

Interested readers can find Alumina’s climate change position statement here.

HESTA’s stance on Australia’s climate targets

Blakey also stated Australian policies are restricting the capital HESTA is willing to invest into the nation. She said:

HESTA would have more appetite to invest more in renewable infrastructure in Australia if we can overcome existing barriers to investment…

Current barriers to domestic investment in renewables mean that for every $1 that we’ve been able to commit to Australian assets in this area, we’ve actually been able to invest $3 overseas.

Blakey also pointed to findings by the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC). As the Motley Fool Australia reported, IGCC recently found Australia’s lacking emissions-reduction targets could be causing it to miss out on billions of dollars.

The post HESTA boss calls out ASX 300 companies without net-zero targets appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

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Motley Fool contributor Brooke Cooper has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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