Three hundred and twenty-nine financial institutions invested US$525 billion in 20 nuclear weapon producers between 2014 and 2017. This is shown by the new report ‘Don’t Bank on the Bomb’, released by PAX and Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) today.
The report shows that while the amount of invested funds has increased by $81 billion in the past year, the actual number of investors has decreased from 369 to 329. Most investors are from the US, and US$110 billion came from just 3 US financial institutions: Blackrock, Vanguard and Capital Group.
The report also shows that 9 Dutch insurers, banks and pension funds invested €2.4 billion in nuclear weapon producers between 2014 and 2017. ING Group, the bank used by the Dutch government, invested €756 million.
ICAN executive director Beatrice Fihn, “If you have been wondering who benefits from Donald Trump’s threats of nuclear war, this report has the answer. These are the companies that stand to profit from indiscriminate mass murder of civilians. We grow less safe while they cash in on chaos by banking on Armageddon.”
On the other hand, more and more financial institutions have taken a stand against profiting from nuclear weapon production by establishing policies to limit or prohibit any association with nuclear weapon producers. The report shows 64 examples of financial institutions with these types of policies. In addition, Dutch civil servants pension fund ABP, the 5th largest pension fund in the world, announced in January 2018 that it would divest from all nuclear weapon producers. Norway’s Government Pension Fund, the second largest fund in the world, recently also announced the exclusion of more nuclear weapon producers.
There is a clear parallel with international developments regarding nuclear weapons. The small group of countries that have nuclear weapons are modernising and even expanding their arsenals. Both President Trump and President Putin announced new nuclear weapons in the planning, clearly engaging in a nuclear arms race. While at the same time the majority of countries in the world are rejecting any association with nuclear weapons by supporting the treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Author of the PAX report Susi Snyder: “The Nuclear Ban Treaty has sparked momentum towards divestment, shown by 10 percent fewer investors in nuclear weapon producers, and an increase in financial institutions comprehensively prohibiting any investment. Investments are not neutral, these companies should be congratulated for standing on the side of humanity.”
ING: follow ABP’s lead
Five years ago, PAX already called on ING and ABP to stop the financing of all nuclear weapon producers. Dutch financial institutions like ING now have the opportunity to act. Most countries have clearly denounced all nuclear weapons. A large majority of Dutch citizens also supports this. ABP acted by excluding all nuclear weapon producers earlier this year, citing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as one of the driving factors behind its decision. PAX calls on ING to take concrete steps towards to full exclusion of all nuclear weapon producers. We welcome the announcement from ING earlier this week that it excludes Airbus-subsidiary Ariane because of its role in producing key components for the French nuclear arsenal, and call on ING to publish its full exclusion list. In addition, ING should exclude all nuclear weapon producers from its asset management activities as it moves towards extracting itself from any financial relationships with nuclear weapon producers.
Download the report Don't Bank on the Bomb.