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Issue #1584      March 6, 2013

Future Fund goes tobacco-free

The decision by Australia’s national investment agency the Future Fund to exclude investment in primary tobacco producers is responsible, consistent with health policy and will be welcomed by the Australian community and the world, says Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Australia.

The decision by the Future Fund followed a Fund review of its investment policy, after strong advocacy by ASH and other health groups and persistent questioning of the Fund in Senate Estimates by Greens Senator Richard di Natale.

The Fund acknowledged tobacco’s “damaging health effects [and] addictive properties” and considered Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) investment principles.

Said ASH Chief Executive Anne Jones: “We’re delighted with the Future Fund’s decision, which restores consistency of the Fund’s investments with Australian health policies aimed at reducing tobacco use and exposure, and with our foreign aid efforts to combat tobacco diseases worldwide.

“Australians will be very relieved that their money will no longer be invested in an industry that promotes and sells death and disease worldwide, especially targeting the poorer nations.”

The decision is consistent with ESG principles.

“It follows similar moves by the governments of ACT, NSW and South Australia. We urge all Australian governments to adopt whole-of-government tobacco divestment policies.”

Health groups who have worked with ASH to encourage governments and major super funds to divest from tobacco include Australian Council on Smoking and Health, the Heart Foundation, Lung Foundation Australia, Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand, and Cure for Life Foundation.   

Next article – To save what belongs to everyone – Interview with Francisco Molina Martinez

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