A number of Hostplus members have signed an open letter calling for the removal of one of the fund’s board members.
Hostplus is being urged to remove Whitehaven Coal chair, Mark Vaile, from his position after he stepped away from his role of chancellor of Newcastle University on Monday following backlash from staff and students over his links to the coal industry.
Members of the super fund believe Mr Vaile’s appointment on the board poses a similar conflict, given it is “actively considering a net zero target”.
“Mark Vaile is the chairman of Whitehaven coal – the biggest pure play coal miner on the Australian share market. Whitehaven has a long history of trashing local communities and the environment,” the open letter read.
“The company’s Maules Creek coal mine, for example, is one of Australia’s most controversial mining projects. Despite a massive community campaign (which included a two year blockade), Whitehaven bulldozed hundreds of hectares of critically endangered forest to build the Maules Creek open cut coal mine.”
It continues: “Hostplus has over $800 million invested in fossil fuels. The board is ultimately responsible for the fund.
“If the University of Newcastle community doesn’t want Vaile guiding them into the future, will Hostplus members also reject him as a board member of their $50 billion super fund?”
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