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Make your personal contributions by 25 June 2024 to make sure they’re counted towards the 2023/24 financial year.

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Our Socially Conscious investment options avoid industries and companies considered to have a highly adverse environmental or social impact.

Key points:

  • We offer four Socially Conscious investment options.
  • Our Socially Conscious investment options are managed according to specific restrictions and exclusions. These are known as screens.
  • The screens describe the types of investments that cannot be made by these options.
  • Our screens are grouped into 3 categories:
    • climate change screens
    • ethical screens
    • conventions and controversies-based screens.
  • Each of the Socially Conscious options has been certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia.
  • You can invest all or part of your super into one or more of these options.
  • More details can be found in the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Handbook

 

Explore our four Socially Conscious investment options

We have four diversified Socially Conscious options. You can choose to invest all or part of your super into one or more of these options. The options available will depend on the type of account you have with us.

Future Saver and Retirement Transition accounts


Retirement Income accounts

Like our Core diversified investment options, these options are invested across a range of:

  • asset classes
  • asset types (listed and unlisted)
  • investment managers, and
  • investment styles.


They are also managed in accordance with the fund's Responsible Ownership approach.

How we manage Socially Conscious investments

Our Socially Conscious investment options avoid industries and companies considered to have a highly adverse environmental or social impact. They are managed with specific restrictions and exclusions known as screens.

We partner with specialist external investment managers to help us manage some of the investments for these options.

You can learn more about how we manage our Socially Conscious investment options. View the Investment & Fees Handbook (PDF, 3.1MB) (for ​Future Saver accounts) or the Retirement Income PDS(PDF, 5.4MB) (for Retirement Transition and ​Retirement Income accounts).

What we screen out

There are industries and companies we limit or exclude from our Socially Conscious options. Our screens are grouped into 3 categories:

  • climate change
  • ethical
  • conventions and controversies.
     

Our Investment team may also decide to exclude companies for other reasons outside of our formal criteria.

More information on each screen is shown below. Companies involved in the activities listed are excluded from the Socially Conscious options, provided the threshold is met.
 

Note that the screens don’t apply to derivatives. In addition, up to 5% of the private equity asset class may be invested in companies that don’t meet the screening criteria, other than tobacco, nicotine-alternatives and tobacco-based products, and controversial weapons.

 

Climate change screens

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Screen Description Threshold*
Coal1 Thermal, energy and metallurgical coal mining, extraction, production, refining and processing. 5% or more of revenue
Coal fired power generation Thermal coal power generation. 5% or more of revenue
Oil and gas (conventional/ unconventional) Oil and gas exploration, production, refining and marketing - includes conventional oil, unconventional oil (including oil sands, tar sands, shale oil), as well as conventional and unconventional gas (including Coal Seam Gas and shale gas). 5% or more of revenue
Fossil fuel transportation Includes fossil fuel (coal, oil and gas) storage & transportation including pipelines, storage tanks, freight, rail and ports. 5% or more of revenue
Fossil fuel supply chain and services

Directly owning and/or supplying fossil fuel (coal, oil and gas) mining equipment, oil & gas equipment & services.

Companies that provide services to the fossil fuel industry whose purpose is to support the transition to the low carbon economy are not included as part of this criteria. 

5% or more of revenue
Fossil fuel reserves Companies that hold fossil fuel reserves (whether proven or probable) with the intention of exploration and/or development of those reserves for revenue generation (rather than for own use). No threshold (i.e. any company holding reserves for the purpose described)


1
There is a fund-wide exclusion for companies generating 10% or more of their revenues directly from mining thermal or energy coal. A lower threshold of 5% is applied to the Socially Conscious options. The exclusion is extended to other forms of coal, such as metallurgical coal. The Socially Conscious screen also incorporates extraction, production, refining, processing and mining. The Socially Conscious screen also extends beyond direct investments.

Ethical screens

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Screen Description Threshold*
Tobacco, nicotine alternatives2 and tobacco-based products3 Production/manufacture of tobacco, nicotine alternatives and tobacco-based products. No threshold (i.e. companies generating any revenue from the manufacture and/or production of tobacco products, nicotine alternatives and tobacco-based products) 
Gambling Production, distribution or provision of services in relation to gambling 5% or more of revenue
Alcohol Production of alcohol 5% or more of revenue
Pornography Production and/or distribution of pornography 5% or more of revenue
Uranium Uranium mining 5% or more of revenue
Nuclear power Nuclear power production and/ or generation 5% or more of revenue
Civilian firearms Production and/or distribution of civilian firearms and related services 5% or more of revenue
Live animal exports Owning and/or operating live animal export operations No threshold (i.e. companies generating any revenue from live animal exports)


2
Nicotine alternatives and tobacco-based products include: (i) electronic nicotine delivery systems as defined by the US Food and Drug Administration (for example, ‘vaping’ devices, e-cigarettes) alternatively described as nicotine vaping products; (ii) dissolvable and non-combustible tobacco products (for example, nicotine pouches, snuff); and (iii) shisha and water pipes.

3 There is a fund-wide exclusion for companies generating 5% or more of their revenue from the manufacture and or production of tobacco products. However, the Socially Conscious screen has no threshold and incorporates companies generating revenue from nicotine alternatives. The Socially Conscious screen also extends beyond direct investments.

​Conventions and controversies-based screens

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Screen Description Threshold*
Controversial weapons4 Companies that derive any revenue from the manufacture and/or production of controversial weapons,  including chemical weapons, cluster munitions, land mines, depleted uranium and companies involved in the development, production and maintenance of nuclear weapons. Note that this screen applies to companies manufacturing whole systems only (i.e. these weapons in their entirety) and does not apply to companies assembling these types of weapons where one or more components are manufactured by another company. In addition, it does not apply to companies involved in the deployment of these types of weapons such as aviation companies.
No threshold (i.e. companies generating any revenue from controversial weapons)
Corporate controversies Companies consistently involved in very severe incidents/ corporate controversies, or that are believed to be at high risk of being involved in serious incidents in the future. Exclusion is at Aware Super's discretion


4
While there is a fund-wide exclusion in relation to controversial weapons, the Socially Conscious screen also incorporates companies involved in the development, production and maintenance of nuclear weapons and extends beyond direct investments.

* This is the level that must be met for a company or investment to be excluded.

Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) certification

The four Socially Conscious investment options have been certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia under the Responsible Investment Certification Program.

The Certification Symbol signifies that a product or service offers an investment style that takes into account certain environmental, social, governance or ethical considerations. The Symbol also signifies that the Aware Super High Growth Socially Conscious, Balanced Socially Conscious, Conservative Balanced Socially Conscious and Conservative Socially Conscious options adhere to the strict operational and disclosure practices required under the Responsible Investment Certification Program for the category of Superfund Option. The Certification Symbol is a Registered Trade Mark of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).

Detailed information about RIAA, the Symbol and Aware Super’s methodology and performance can be found at responsiblereturns.com.au, together with details about other responsible investment products certified by RIAA.

The Responsible Investment Certification Program does not constitute financial product advice. Neither the Certification Symbol nor RIAA recommends to any person that any financial product is a suitable investment or that returns are guaranteed. Appropriate professional advice should be sought prior to making an investment decision. RIAA does not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence.


Things to consider

  • the exclusion of certain sectors and investments will impact the returns of the Socially Conscious options when those sectors perform well or poorly. 
  • while a Socially Conscious option may align with your personal preferences, you should also consider if it meets your financial goals and attitude to risk.