The iconic ING bank´s lion kicking away a nuclear cruise missile: that image was projected Monday night onto the ING headquarters in Amsterdam. On Tuesday morning, anyone entering the building will be tested for nuclear radiation with a Geiger counter. With these stunts, PAX is launching a campaign to get the Dutch multinational bank to stop investing in producers of nuclear weapons.
With €756 million of investments, ING is the largest Dutch investor in companies producing nuclear weapons. A recent study shows that three-quarters of ING’s own customers are against these investments. “It’s high time ING realized that nuclear weapons are unacceptable; unacceptable for humanity on the whole, and certainly for their own customers whose money the bank is investing,” says Miriam Struyk, Director of Programmes at PAX.
In its current policy, ING recognizes that nuclear weapons are inhumane. But this doesn’t seem to be enough to stop the bank from investing more three-quarters of a billion euros in 9 companies which produce nuclear weapons. One of these companies is Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest arms producer. Lockheed Martin makes weapons which are designed to create as many civilian victims as possible. Investing in such a company goes against ING’s own recognition of the horrible humanitarian impact of such weapons.
Nuclear weapons will soon be banned
ING’s slogan is “For those who want to get ahead”. When it comes to nuclear weapons, many countries are getting ahead faster than ING. A large majority of countries adopted a treaty last year that would ban all nuclear weapons outright. The treaty is expected to take effect within the next two years. ING is active in many countries which have already or plan to join the treaty. PAX calls on ING to join this movement and get out of the nuclear weapons industry.
“This treaty will mean that in the near future nuclear weapons will be banned in large parts of the world,” says Struyk. “It’s in ING’s interest to face up to this reality. It’s actually pretty shameful that ING still has these kinds of investments in their portfolio. What are they waiting for? Get out now.”
ING customers don’t like it
A recent study conducted by the independent research agency Motivaction shows that 9 out of 10 ING customers don’t know the bank invests in the nuclear weapons industry. At the same time, three-quarters of the customers say that such investments are not right. PAX calls on ING to listen to want it’s own customers want.
ING can build on its current policy: make public the list of companies not eligible for investment, reject all nuclear weapons producers, regardless of whether or not they also do other things, and apply the policy to all investments, including all asset management activities.
Read more (in Dutch) about our campaign #INGkernwapenvrij.