Step 2: Defund the War Machine

Protesters holding sign saying 'Stop Putin'

The sad reality of our financial system is that most Australians are giving their savings and superannuation to companies who make profits from supporting the Russian companies that make this war possible. Australia’s largest superannuation fund, Australian Super, has investments in more than half a dozen Russian banks and oil and gas companies [SOURCE]. 

These companies have known for decades they are worsening climate change, supporting military action in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and continue the oppression of human rights of the Russian people. And they’ve been doing it with our money. For decades.

And many of them have still not divested.

IT Gets worse.

Sadly, they are not the only ones. Australia’s own sovereign wealth fund, the Future Fund, has more than $200M invested in Russian securities, with many of the major players following suit include Aware, Host Plus and many others. [SOURCE]

This is to say nothing of the investments that these financial institutions have in weapons manufacturers, service companies who profit off large military contracts, and media companies who profit from perpetuating ‘if it bleeds, it reads’ headlines.

Australia has more money in superannuation than there is money in Saudi Arabia. We are 20 times wealthier than Ukraine [SOURCE]. Moving our money not only starves the war machine of resources, but also sends a powerful message: we are not afraid.

Whilst it will starve the war machine of resources, it will also have severe consequences for millions of innocent Russians. This war will kill many on the battlefronts, and many more in the poverty that will come after. Their currency will continue to be devalued, importing critical medicines will become prohibitively expensive for some, and many will face the economic and emotional hardship of being the citizen of a country that is increasingly excluded from the world.

As such, where possible, these sanctions should target state owned organisations with links to Russia’s elite, and not those that provide living essentials to everyday Russians.

Queues at ATM as desperate civilians attempt to withdraw cash

IT gets better

Moving your money doesn’t have to mean less returns. Some of the most innovative, fast-growing and profitable companies are also the most ethical ones. In a world where renewable energy is more efficient than solar, where education and healthcare are massive industries, and doing the wrong thing can come with severe financial penalties, giving your money to ethical financial institutions can give you multiple reasons to feel good.

ACTIONS: SWAP YOUR SUPER

For many Australians, your superannuation is both your largest asset, and the asset that is easiest to switch (can be done in <10 minutes). If you are with any of the major funds, it is highly likely that your money is being used in some way to supply weapons, fuel, and other military support to wars like the one in Ukraine. 

If you’re looking into super funds that do not fund the industries of war (weapons, fossil fuels, etc) you should look into the following to see if they are right for you:

Actions: Swap to an Ethical Super:

Super fund

3 year performance

Australian
Ethical

11.0%

Verve

10.84%

Future Super

9.00%

Cruelty
Free Super

7.25%

Industry Average: 8.8% to 11.5% [SOURCE]

 

*The above table reviews the highest growth option from provider where available. 3 year timeframe chosen to allow comparison with new funds/products.

ACTIONS: SWAP YOUR BANK

A bank with no money is like a pub with no beer: Not very useful in a war.

When you move your money (and therefore your fees, interest payments and word of mouth advertising) from a bank that supports war industries to one that doesn’t, you make it harder, and more expensive, for countries like Russia to do the wrong thing. 

If you’re looking to get rid of these dirty industries from using your money in the wrong way, you should look into the following:

Bank

Other Notes

Bank Australia

B Corp (ethical company certification)

Beyond Bank

B Corp (ethical company certification)

 

Full list of options;

ACTIONS: BOYCOTT Russian made products

You can play your part in international sanctions by not buying Russian products. For most people, the obvious example is Russian vodka.

Particularly if you work for a large company, join the organisations around the world who are leading the #BoycottRussia movement [SOURCE]. Part of the benefit this has is the direct impact of reducing the resources that Russia has at its disposal for the war. 

Arguably more importantly, though, it helps to cut through the lies that are being propelled by Russian controlled media. Each time a grand prix gets cancelled, a company stops delivering products, or a sports team drops a sponsorship, it makes it harder for the Kremlin to continue saying that everyone else is wrong, and they are right.

If you need help creating an internal business case to support this action, please reach out to contact@makeyourchange.org, and we will do our best to support you.

You can also print this flyer and hand it out to local licensed venues and bottle shops to help encourage others to do the same:

Flyer encouraging customers and stores to boycott Russian Vodka

Next Steps

1. Support Ukrainians

2. Defund the War Machine

3. Pressure Government to ACT

4. REad and spread the truth

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