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A little goes a long way

A little goes a long way

Ways you may be able to lower your carbon footprint

What we can each do about climate change

Aussies can see and feel the impacts of climate change through severe weather events, like droughts, bushfires and floods. We know we need to make better choices but is there a way we can understand more about the potential impact of our choices and actions? 

Together with UTS Business School and Lonergan Research, our new research report helps uncover some of the ways we can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These include more direct ways we can lower carbon emissions like installing solar panels, as well as considering some of the less direct ways we can support the systemic changes needed to address climate change, like switching investments to an ethically managed portfolio. 

To understand Australia’s perceptions about climate change, Lonergan Research surveyed over 2,000 Australians aged 18+ from capital city and non-capital city areas.  

The results may surprise you. 


We need tonnes of carbon reduction

The average Aussie has a carbon footprint of 15.4 tonnes (15,400kg)+ of CO2e. To keep global warming within 1.5°C, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has outlined that we would need to reduce our carbon footprint to just 2 tonnes per person.

That's a reduction of 13.4 tonnes!

Some impactful actions you can take

What are the things we can change in our everyday lives that could make an impact? 

Our research confirms a little really can go a long way. Flip the cards below to learn how each action can help reduce your carbon footprint or influence others to reduce their footprint. 

While switching super to an ethical fund doesn’t directly remove carbon from the atmosphere, it has potentially powerful indirect effects including changing company behaviour and supporting the systemic changes needed to tackle climate change  

Carbon footprint estimates should be used with caution and there are some considerations to have in mind when reading the flip cards.* 



How ethical investing can drive change

While investing ethically doesn’t directly remove carbon from the atmosphere, we believe there are powerful indirect effects - it can help move money to companies that are part of the solution, and away from companies doing harm. We drive change in several ways:

  • We engage with selected companies to seek to influence them to reduce their own emissions or their customers' emissions.
  • Our public divestment, advocacy, ethical stewardship and reporting can influence positive change in the behaviour of companies, governments, and the market.
  • Increasing demand for ethical investments can improve ethical companies’ access to low-cost funding to help them to grow.

If enough people make the switch to ethical investing, it has the potential to make a systemic impact.^

The impact of low carbon investing

How much less CO2e intensive could a low carbon investment be? Use the slider to find out.

This is the estimated reduction in CO2e that could be achieved by investing in an ethical fund instead of a market benchmark portfolio. It is calculated by comparing the companies’ estimated emissions within those portfolios.*

How much less CO2e intensive could a low carbon investment be? Use the slider to find out.

Get the full scoop

Want to learn more? Download the full report and discover how your individual actions can contribute to lowering carbon emissions and lead to transformative change.

Read the report 

^This information is not intended to be relied on for the purpose of making a decision in relation to a financial product. If you are considering making a switch, please consider not only investments and fees but also any difference in the insurance provided by the fund. You should consider seeking advice and read the relevant product disclosure statement and target market determination to make an informed decision based on your own financial objectives, situation and needs.

*Carbon footprint estimates should be used with caution. They may not consider the full lifecycle of a product or the environmental impact of disposal. The estimates provided should not be taken as an absolute guide. The estimated carbon footprint of an investment portfolio is based on the emissions of the companies and other investments in the portfolio. Company carbon data often includes estimates or is incomplete and may be out of date or include errors. To provide an indication of the lower investment carbon footprint of an investment with an ethical fund, UTS used the MSCI Portfolio Analytics report from Australian Ethical (report date: July 22, 2022).  For the purposes of illustration, the estimates are based on Australian Ethical’s aggregate investment in listed equities across our managed funds and super options, and for which we have the relevant MSCI carbon data. The comparison market benchmark is a blended benchmark of the S&P ASX 200 Index (for Australian and New Zealand share holdings) and MSCI World ex Australia Index (for international fund share holdings).  

The UTS research has ranked a wide spectrum of activities that individuals can take to reduce their carbon impact. The specific actions vary in terms of their direct or indirect impact on reducing fossil fuel consumption and other sources of greenhouse gases. They have different mechanisms for causing or influencing reductions in emissions. Some actions, such as installing solar panels, turning off electronic devices when not in use, or composting food waste, more directly reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. Other actions, such as recycling plastics and glass or switching your super or investments to an ethical responsible low carbon fund have less direct impacts (i.e., they don’t immediately take carbon out of the atmosphere). However, they can influence reductions in emissions and can also help create systemic change when adopted at a large scale. 

+UTS Business School. (2022, November). Carbon Savings: Lifestyle & Investment Choices Report.

Australian Ethical acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the country on which we work, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, and recognise and celebrate their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and thank them for protecting Country since time immemorial.