Media reaction: 2 November 2020

Pension legal settlement could set off domino effect

A settlement between a $57bn (Aus) pension fund and one of its members in a ground-breaking climate risk court case in Australia could lead to similar actions and a shift in the market, say environmental lawyers.

After two years of legal proceedings by 25 year-old Mark McVeigh against Rest superannuation fund and on the eve of a court hearing, a settlement was reached which saw Rest make a number of commitments around managing the risk climate change poses to members’ pensions.

ClientEarth’s Climate Finance Lead, Lawyer Joanne Etherton, said:

“The commitments from Rest in this settlement are significant both in climate terms and for the signal they send to the market. They could set off a domino effect in Australia, with other funds taking robust pre-emptive action to look after their members’ money in the face of a changing climate.

“It should also raise the heart-rate at pension funds in the UK, as there is a very real risk of litigation for funds which are not taking climate risk into account here. For those pension providers behind the curve on this, it would be in their interests to read the settlement carefully and get their houses in order.”


About ClientEarth

ClientEarth is a charity that uses the power of the law to protect people and the planet. We are international lawyers finding practical solutions for the world’s biggest environmental challenges. We are fighting climate change, protecting oceans and wildlife, making forest governance stronger, greening energy, making business more responsible and pushing for government transparency. We believe the law is a tool for positive change. From our offices in London, Brussels, Warsaw, Berlin and Beijing, we work on laws throughout their lifetime, from the earliest stages to implementation. And when those laws are broken, we go to court to enforce them.