5 June 2014 — A new survey has found that 67 per cent of Australians would switch to a bank or superfund that did not invest in fossil fuels.

The survey, commissioned by 350.org.au, asked 1314 Australians across the country about their attitudes to fossil fuel investment.

It also found that 77 per cent were concerned about their super fund financing coal and gas projects in or near the Great Barrier Reef, and 72 per cent were concerned about their bank or super fund financing coal and gas anywhere in Australia.

The results show a marked increase from the 25 per cent of Australians who said they’d switch funds as part of The Australia Institute and Market Forces survey last year.

“These findings demonstrate a heightened concern about the risks of fossil fuels amongst everyday Australians and a growing unwillingness to have their money associated with these risks,” said Charlotte Wood, 350.org Australia campaigns director.

Investment manager and super fund Australian Ethical welcomed the results, saying more funds needed to take the lead and reduce their clients’ exposure to the financial and environmental risks of investing in climate change.

“This new study shows us that ignoring the science won’t just harm the planet or cost super investors to lose out in precious retirement savings, it is also going to cost funds their customers as they switch into more sustainable offerings,” said chief executive of Australian Ethical Phil Vernon.

He said recent developments of super funds and institutional investors diverting from fossil fuels was a welcome sign.

“It’s inspiring to see mainstream major funds catching up in their thinking on investments in fossil fuels,” Mr Vernon said.

“It is expected that fossil fuel divestment will continue to be an upward trend for the industry in the coming years.”

See the full findings.