Through our Responsible Ownership approach, we aim to actively drive change as asset owners by engaging with the companies we invest in.

By identifying and managing a company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, we can help companies find new opportunities, steer capital towards more attractive areas, and manage long-term investment risks (like climate change).

We exert influence on companies through share voting, engagement, and advocacy.

“We believe we can enhance the long-term performance of the companies we invest in, to ultimately deliver better outcomes for our members”


Aware Super Stewardship report 2021

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Voting shares – influencing companies to make better decisions

As an investor in listed companies, we receive voting rights as a shareholder. Exercising our voting rights is integral to our role as an active owner and is an effective way to publicly express our views on what a company is doing right and what it needs to improve.

  • When voting on resolutions for Australian listed companies – we receive recommendations and advice from the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI).
  • When voting on resolutions for international listed companies – we receive recommendations from CGI Glass Lewis and a number of our investment managers vote directly.

Aware Super International 2021 report

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How we voted: 1 July 2020 - 30 June 2021
Shares voted # meetings # resolutions voted on Voting results
Australian shares 342 1,815 9% of votes against management
International shares 3,137 34,714 10% of votes against management

ACSI 2021 Annual report

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Issues we voted on included: board accountability and structure, executive remuneration, diversity, environmental and social shareholder resolutions.

Read our voting reports

Read our Responsible Investment: Environmental, Social & Corporate Governance Policy


Engagement – working with companies for better ESG results

When engaging on ESG themes directly with companies or indirectly via fund managers, we pay close attention to issues and opportunities that can impact the long-term sustainability of our investments. These themes include but are not limited to climate change, worker safety, diversity and culture.

We may escalate our engagement by voting against remuneration reports, a specific director or supporting a shareholder proposal (for example). If we do not see improvement in a company’s business model or there are potentially stranded assets (assets that won’t meet a viable economic return), we may divest our holdings.

We engage directly with Australian companies, through our fund managers, partnering with ACSI and collaborative groups (e.g. Climate Action 100+). When engaging with international listed companies, we partner with Hermes EOS and fund managers.

How we engaged with Australian companies: 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021

For more information including our international voting and engagement, refer to:

Exclusions – portfolio sustainability for today and tomorrow

We will usually engage with a company or seek to influence its ESG-related practices – but there are times we exclude certain companies or sectors.

Some considerations could be - if the investment causes damage to our fund’s reputation, if the investment contravenes international treaties, or we cannot influence a company through proxy voting or engagement.

Our principled stance on exclusions has seen our fund:

  • divest from tobacco companies – in 2012 we were one of the first funds to do this
  • exclude thermal coal from October 2020 – as part of our Climate Change Portfolio Transition Plan
  • exclude controversial weapons – we do not invest in manufacturers of chemical weapons, cluster munitions, land mines and depleted uranium.

Read our investment exclusion case studies and the results we’ve achieved for our members

Tobacco divestment – helping to protecting the health of our members and society

Thermal coal divestment – transitioning our portfolio to a low-carbon economy

Recognition for our approach

Advocacy – leading and supporting on sustainable outcomes

We collaborate formally and informally with other super funds, institutions and global initiatives to support sustainability for the industry and economy. This includes:

  • Signatory to the UN-backed Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI). The PRI is designed to encourage and assist investors to integrate ESG considerations into their investment processes.
  • Partnering with:
    • The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) – a strong, collective voice on ESG issues in Australia.
    • Federated Hermes Eos – supports us to be a more active owner of our international assets through dialogue and engagement.
  • An active member of the Investor Group on Climate Change – raising the awareness of the impact of climate change on the investment industry.
  • A member of the GISD Alliance reinforcing our commitment to the global 2030 Sustainable Investment Goals – to address global challenges in areas like poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.
  • Joining global investors as an inaugural signatory to the Tobacco Free Finance Pledge
  • Climate Action 100+ We are a lead investor for Australian companies focussing on reducing emissions and improving governance on climate risks
  • We are a signatory to the Australian Asset Owner Stewardship Code, highlighting our commitment as active owners
  • Workforce Disclosure Initiative: we encourage companies in Australia and globally to improve disclosure on workforce indicators in their operations and supply chains.
  • Read our article about the PRI and why we're "recognised as a leader in responsible investing".

Find out more about Socially Responsible Investment

Find out more about Socially Responsible Investment