In a new banking and financial investments analysis report published today, top financial institutions JP Morgan Chase (US), Temasek Holdings (Singapore) and China Everbright Group (China) lead the 2014 Hall of Shame of investors in cluster munitions producers.
They are among the top investors of in total 151 financial institutions which continue to provide loans and financial services to producers of these internationally banned weapons. Thirty-six financial institutions from Australia and Europe make it into the 2014 Hall of Fame. These are just some of the findings published today in the 2014 update of “Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions; a shared responsibility” by PAX.
In 2014, it was widely reported that cluster bombs maimed and killed civilians in Syria and eastern Ukraine. Cluster bombs, like landmines, are banned under international law and are being phased out of many military stockpiles. The recent use of cluster munitions underlines the urgent need for these weapons to be eliminated once and for all. “It is an absolute scandal that so-called leading banks and asset managers are investing billions into companies that produce weapons which are banned under international law. This year alone, civilians in Syria and eastern Ukraine were killed and maimed by these weapons”, says Suzanne Oosterwijk, co-author of the PAX report.
Hall of Shame
Loans by financial institutions to companies involved in cluster munitions almost doubled from US$ 2.3 billion in the 2013 report to US$ 4.5 billion. “Financial institutions are scrutinized by rating agencies for their financial performance. According to our ranking, these financial institutions are worst performers in terms of their dubious ethics on cluster munitions. Their explosive investments into producers of banned weapons are unacceptable. We call on these companies to stop funding the indiscriminate killing of civilians by ending these investments,” says Oosterwijk.
“94% of recorded cluster munition victims are civilians and 40% are children. Which begs the question why any financial institution would choose to fund producers of this banned weapon,” says Amy Little, Campaign Manager of the international Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). “More financial institutions need to improve their ethics on this weapon, like the seventy-six listed in the report for their cluster munition policies.”
“We call for more financial institutions to cease investing in cluster munitions companies,” adds Suzanne Oosterwijk from PAX. “We also urge governments that have joined the global ban to install national disinvestment legislation.”
In a video statement posted online to accompany the PAX report, she adds “If we decided to ban cluster munitions, why should we allow investments in companies that make them?”