Joel Posters

3 June 2014 — The Federal Government’s Future Fund, which manages commonwealth funds saved towards Australian Public Service Superannuation, has appointed global sustainability heavyweight Joel Posters as its new head of environmental, social and governance risk management.

Currently based in The Netherlands, Posters is the managing director of Sustainable Impact, a consulting firm that advises on corporate sustainability, sustainable business, responsible investing, community investment and philanthropy.

His prior experience also includes the position of global head of sustainability for De Lage Landen, the asset financing arm of the Rabobank Group, where he focused on expanding the organisation’s offerings in the areas of clean technology and circular business models for manufacturing partners.

In his new role, Posters will assist the Future Fund with managing its $100 billion of globally invested assets and ensure that risks including environmental risks, resource scarcity issues and social responsibility are effectively addressed.

The fund, which operates independently of the government as an investment business, has had an ESG policy since 2007, according to a Future Fund spokesman.

He told The Fifth Estate the fund has a policy of taking a proactive approach to ESG, engaging with the boards and executives of entities in which it invests to ensure sustainability and other risks are managed properly. This has included discussions with Australia’s major banks on climate change (regulatory impacts, physical impacts, consumer preferences) as a source of credit risk.

“Effectively managing ESD risk can have a beneficial impact on returns [on investments],” the spokesman said.

“We take ESG issues into account when making our investment decisions.”

The former chair of the Future Fund, David Murray, had previously called the carbon price the “worst piece of economic reform” he had seen in his life, leading the then Treasurer Wayne Swan to label Mr Murray a climate sceptic.

The Future Fund is now chaired by former Liberal Treasurer Peter Costello.