Dr. Bronwyn King
Radiation Oncologist and CEO of Tobacco Free Portfolios
Dr King founded Tobacco Free Portfolios in 2010, after realising health professionals were inadvertently investing in tobacco companies – manufacturers of the very products responsible for the serious, life-threatening illnesses suffered by her patients. Since then, she has convinced 32 super funds to divest over $1.3 billion in tobacco company investments.
Can I make a difference?
“Historically, member engagement has been a big issue with superannuation funds in Australia. Many members remain oblivious to where their money is being invested. Fiduciary duty, or acting in a client’s best interest, is not a barrier to implementing a tobacco-free investment mandate.
Superannuation funds have done modelling to view what would happen if they were to divest tobacco from their portfolio, and reinvest that money elsewhere. Time and time again the modelling shows the financial impact of going tobacco free is inconsequential.
The tobacco industry produces a product that kills two thirds of its users, over 6 million every year. It is deeply associated with child labour as well. These issues by themselves are worth serious consideration on whether any individual organisation should be associated with tobacco companies.
When I found out my superannuation fund was investing in tobacco, I had to look into the issue a lot deeper. I got the support of my hospital and its CEO, as well as the head of the lung cancer unit. After engaging with my super fund for some time, they made the decision to implement a tobacco-free mandate across their entire portfolio.”
To read more on how Dr. King divested over $1.3 billion from tobacco companies, click here.