One of Australia’s largest superannuation funds, UniSuper, stands accused of “greenwashing” some of its investment products by mislabelling them “sustainable”. 

UniSuper member Dr Christopher Standen has, through the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), lodged a complaint with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). [1] 

Two of the funds that UniSuper markets as “sustainable” [2] have significant investments in the Transurban Group, one of the world’s largest toll road operators.  

“Transurban Group’s business model relies on increasing road traffic, which increases climate and other pollution,” Dr Standen said.   

“Road transport causes about 20 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. While other sectors, such as electricity generation, are reducing their emissions in line with Australia’s net zero target, road transport emissions continue to increase – fuelled largely by continued urban motorway expansion.  

“Toll roads are clearly not environmentally sustainable, so UniSuper should not market products as sustainable when they include those sorts of investments. 

“I’m concerned that UniSuper members may take the sustainability claims of the company at face value and not look more closely at how the financial returns from those products are being generated. 

“Members who chose investment options marketed as sustainable would be appalled to know that toll road profits were contributing to their earnings. 

“That’s why I have asked ASIC to investigate whether UniSuper has made misleading and deceptive statements, in breach of Australia’s consumer and investment laws.” [3] 

EDO Managing Lawyer Kirsty Ruddock said: “Regulatory authorities have made greenwashing a focus of their work recently because sustainability claims have become so ubiquitous and profitable. 

“Companies know that people want to minimise the environmental impact of their spending and investment decisions, and they design their marketing strategies accordingly. 

“Too often, the claims made in marketing materials are not matched by the products and services on offer. 

“While UniSuper did disclose the investments in Transurban Group, that information was not easily accessible. 

“ASIC has said headline claims about sustainability should not require exceptions and qualifications to rectify an otherwise misleading impression.  

“That means not referring investors to another webpage or prospectus to find out information to correct a misleading or deceptive impression.” 

This is the second time in two years that UniSuper has been the subject of a greenwashing complaint in relation to its financial products and services. In April 2022, UniSuper was the subject of a similar complaint by fund member Rachel Davies, who alleged UniSuper’s investments in gas giant Santos “may amount to a breach of the law”. [4] Unisuper subsequently sold off most of its Santos shares, so the complaint was not referred to an external review body.  


[1] Complaint to ASIC regarding UniSuper, April 2024.

[1] The funds in question are call Sustainable Balanced and Sustainable High Growth.  

[2] Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth) and the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). 

[3] Letter to UniSuper Trustees from EDO on behalf of Rachel Davies, 29 August 2022.    

[4] UniSuper faces legal challenge over Santos stake, AFR, 29-8-22,


UniSuper is an Australian superannuation fund, with over 615,000 members and approximately $124 billion in funds under management. UniSuper offers various portfolio options, including seven pre-mixed and nine sector-specific options. UniSuper also offers three options described as ‘sustainable and environmental branded options’. These include the ‘Sustainable Balanced’ and ‘Sustainable High Growth’ options.  


James Tremain | 0419 272 254