PODCAST #44 · ADAM VERWEY & KIRSTIN HUNTER · SUPER FOR OUR FUTURE

Sustainable Jungle Podcast - Adam Verwey and Kirstin Hunter from Future Super

"We have the money sitting there, it belongs to each of us. We can dictate how that money is spent on our behalves to shape the kind of world we want to live in "

Adam has a long history in ethical investment, with an expertise in superannuation, ESG (environmental, social and governance) research and constructing ethical sharemarket indices. He leads the ethical investment team at Future Super and is a member of the Investment Committee. Prior to founding Future Super, Adam spent almost 10 years at Australian Ethical Investment as a senior manager in business development and marketing. He is a director at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, an organisation dedicated to shareholder advocacy and engagement. Adam is also the portfolio manager for the Thomson Reuters Australian Fossil Fuel Free Index, and a member of the Responsible Investment Committee for the Betashares Global Sustainability Leaders ETF and Betashares Australian Sustainability Leaders ETF.

Kirstin is the Managing Director at Future Super where she is leading the movement to use the power of money to invest, advocate and campaign for a future worth retiring into. Kirstin began her career as a Solicitor at Freehills before moving to Bain & Company where she specialised in financial services strategy, working for clients in banking, insurance and wealth management in Australia and Canada. She has done pro-bono work for non-profits including the Aboriginal Trust Fund Remuneration Scheme, OzHarvest and Whitelion, chaired the board of the Youth Food Movement Australia, and founded Aussie Babywearers for Refugees.

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We chatted to Adam and Kirstin just weeks after the September 2019 Climate Strikes, a fascinating time to make change at scale. We  discuss the following:                                                                                   

  • Adam’s background, growing up in country Australia and his early influences (~01:30)
  • Being a teenager in Broken Hill and how BHP’s lead and zinc mines inspired Adam to change how he invests, focus his career on ethical investment and ultimately start Future Super (~02:30)
  • Kirstin’s background, growing up in Tweed Heads and how a recession highlighted the importance of community in times of challenge (~07:20)
  • Kirstin’s career path, managing a corporate career as a Lawyer and Management Consultant while volunteering and how she came to be a leader at Future Super (~08:45)
  • What exactly is a superannuation fund and how mindsets around super investments in Australia are starting to change (~11:00)
  • An overview of Future Super and why this fund is different (~15:00)
  • Future Super’s investment strategy including their negative and positive ethical screening for each investment and impact-based investment choices for members (~16:15)
  • How investment choices can have an impact at scale and what it would take to completely fund the transition to a renewable economy in Australia (~19:40)
  • What’s the deal with returns? What does the data say about the performance of ethical investments vs (for example) fossil fuels? (~21:30)
  • More on the “Power of Money” to make positive change and how the effort to make this change is actually very low (~23:30)
  • The team behind Future Super and how Future Super hires from their member community because they want people who care (~27:45)
  • How Future Super initiated the #notbusinessasusual movement to support their staff to join the climate strikes and inspire other businesses to do the same (~30:45)
  • What is important to Future Super from a workplace culture perspective and some of their policies to create a fair and inclusive workplace (~35:20)
  • How Future Super’s ‘Theory of Change’ approach has helped spread some of these next level policies to other companies! (~40:30)
  • More on why Adam an Kirstin are doing this, when they could be doing just about anything else (~41:30)
  • Thoughts on hope, how fast things are changing, the inspiration of the school strikes and how incredible these young people are (~44:30)
  • Examples of investments (or lack of investments) and actions that actually make change (~47:30)
  • Exciting things coming up for Future Super (~51:00)
  • Advice for mission based startups (~52:20)
  • A key message for humanity (~53:50)
  • How to find Future Super online and how to switch your Super! (~55:20)

"If you can get just as good a return from investing in things that are creating positive impacts, why would you choose a fund that’s investing to create negative impact?""

Sustainable Jungle Podcast - Adam Verwey and Kirstin Hunter from Future Super
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