#51 Phil Vernon: the future of ethical investing

#51 Phil Vernon: the future of ethical investing

Phil Vernon was CEO of Australian Ethical investments for ten years, before he stood-down last year. Australian Ethical has been hugely influential in the responsible investment industry, through leading the discussion on what it means to invest ethically. They offer a superannuation option that makes you money for your retirement, while also ensuring the environment is still in good shape for when you finish working.

Phil has always been a strong advocate for the power of capital markets to shape society, and in this episode he doesn’t shy away from telling it how it is, he explains:

  • Why early access to super isn’t such a bad thing,
  • Why investors should get on board with the ‘Net Zero emissions by 2050’ commitments,
  • And, the importance of having a defined purpose in your work life.

Listen on Soundcloud

On this episode…

Phil explains his early days in finance, working in securitisation right around the time of the GFC, and how seeing the abhorrent corporate behaviour from the Guns Logging company pushed him towards responsible investing.

Phil also looks forward, explaining the companies he’s currently working with and the issues he’s passionate about.

My key takeaway this week…

“Why shouldn’t super funds commit to a net-zero emissions target? It avoids the blunt instrument of divesting, and just getting out tomorrow. It’s absolutely aligned with at least 50% of the market, with ESG funds already being committed to engaging with the companies they invest in, those who have a philosophy consistent with the Paris agreement.”

Good Future’s Good Books

Economics for the Common Good

By Jean Tirole

“The ethics team at Australian Ethical gave it to me as a parting gift. It’s by a French economist.

The title says it all, but a lesson out of the current situation is that we were a bit too obsessed with balancing budgets and economy for the economy’s sake.

This book is all about collaboration needed between governments and markets to address some of these big issues in society. It particularly, it calls out key challenges for economists to get their heads around in the future.”


Australian Ethical Investments

Beyond Zero Emissions

Environmental Defenders Office

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