Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

Medibank moves $170m to tobacco-free investment fund

Health advocate says decision shows tobacco a ‘pariah industry’ while CEO says move makes ‘good business sense’

The private health giant Medibank has moved $170m of investment in international equities to a new tobacco-free investment fund.

The money had previously been in an international equities index, with a portion of that index invested in tobacco companies.

The chief executive of Medibank, Craig Drummond, said the money had been reinvested into a fund with State Street Global Advisors, which excludes companies that have significant business activities involving tobacco and controversial weapons.

“We’re proud to be investing in a tobacco-free portfolio,” Drummond said on Monday. “This decision is just good business sense. Our mission for better health has to carry all the way through our business – from our employees and customers through to investments.”

According to Cancer Council Australia, two of every three deaths in current long-term smokers can be directly attributed to smoking.

A professor of public health from Curtin University and anti-tobacco campaigner, Mike Daube, said Medibank should be applauded for the move.

“It is especially important that health organisations show the way in distancing themselves from the tobacco industry,” he said.

“Two thirds of big tobacco’s Australian consumers die because they used the product exactly as intended. Medibank are sending out the signal loud and clear that this is a pariah industry.

“There is a growing global momentum towards tobacco disinvestment. Australia can lead the way here as elsewhere in tobacco control.”

A “markets and growth” report released earlier this year by Imperial Brands, which manages Imperial Tobacco, described Australia as “the darkest market in the world” for tobacco.

“It’s easy to get dispirited by that,” the report said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>