Source: OraTaiao, 20 September 2017
Health professionals are welcoming the recent move by Medical
Assurance Society (MAS) to divest from fossil fuels, saying it
shows strong leadership for a healthy climate future.
The society has announced that, from September 14, their
KiwiSaver and Retirement Savings Plans will no longer invest in
fossil fuels, as well as armaments and tobacco. This policy will
also apply to MAS reserves, the money MAS holds to invest for the
future and to pay insurance claims.
According to MAS, this represents more than $1.4 billion of
investment funds, which "will be playing their part for global
health and wellbeing."
Dr. Alex Macmillan, Co-convenor of OraTaiao: The New Zealand
Climate and Health Council, and MAS member, agrees that this is a
significant step. "We're extremely pleased that MAS has responded
positively to calls from members, supported by OraTaiao, to make
"As one of the leading providers of insurance and superannuation
for medical and other professionals in New Zealand, it is fantastic
to see MAS divest from fossil fuels," says Dr Macmillan.
"Climate change is widely recognised as the greatest threat to
health in the 21st century, so it is important that health
professionals take a lead in the transition to a low carbon
society. We now have an excellent opportunity to do this by
investing our retirement savings in a fossil-free future."
It is common for managed funds to divest from tobacco, alcohol,
gambling and armaments as these investments are viewed to be
unethical. Increasingly managed funds around the world are also
divesting from fossil fuels due to the effect these companies'
operations have on climate change. By December 2016, a total of 688
institutions and over 58,000 individuals representing $5.5 trillion
in assets worldwide had divested from fossil fuels.
Divestment removes both the financial and social support these
companies need to operate. "Many fossil fuel companies have played
an active role in funding climate denial," says Dr Macmillan.
"Divestment makes a clear statement that the industry is not
compatible with a safe climate and healthy population."
"It makes no sense for health professionals to support
industries whose activities are directly at odds with our mission
of improving population health. We now have an opportunity to
instead invest in a healthy climate for current and future
generations," says Dr Macmillan.