ACTION ALERT: Don't Bank on the Bomb (Does Your Bank Invest in Atomic Bombs?)
November 12, 2015 PAX
A startling investigation by the Netherlands-based PAX anti-war group reveals that 382 well-known banks, insurance companies and pension funds have invested $493 billion in nuclear weapons production since January 2012. Based on evidence revealed in the report, activists worldwide are calling on financial institutions to stop investing in the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction. Governments should also move to ban nuclear weapons once and for all.
Don't Bank on the Bomb: 2015 Report PAX voor vrede
(November 10, 2015) -- Every year PAX publishes a unique global study on investments by financial institutions in companies that are involved in the production, storage and maintenance of (components of) nuclear weapons: the Don't Bank on the Bomb report. This movie shows why you should check to see what your money is being invested in.
Demand that Financial Institutions
Drop the Bomb from their Investment Portfolios PAX
"No bank, pension fund or insurance company should have financial relations with companies involved in weapons of mass destruction. Exclusion policies stigmatize these inhumane and indiscriminate weapons, helping to outlaw and eliminate them once and for all."
-- Susi Snyder, co-author. "Don't Bank on the Bomb"
UTRECHT (November 11, 2015) -- The report Don't Bank on the Bomb, published today by Dutch peace organization PAX, shows 53 financial institutions recognize the stigma associated with nuclear weapons and have policies prohibiting or limiting investments in the nuclear weapon industry, a 50% increase from the previous report.
The report shows how the humanitarian discourse on nuclear weapons has further stigmatized financial association with nuclear weapons.
Stigmatizing nuclear investments
The report links the change in discourse on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons that has emerged in international discussions in recent years to the growing distance financial institutions are placing between their investments and nuclear weapons.
Nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction not yet explicitly prohibited under international law, a gap that 121 countries have pledged to fill. By stigmatizing nuclear investments, these financial institutions are getting ready for a nuclear weapons prohibition treaty.
Top 10 Investors: $175 Billion
The report also details financial relationships with 26 nuclear weapons producing companies. It identifies 382 banks, insurance companies and pension funds with investments in 26 companies involved in the production, maintenance or stockpiling of nuclear weapons.
The top 10 investors alone provided more than $209 billion to the identified nuclear weapon producers. All of the top 10 are based in the US. The top 3: Capital Group, State Street, and Blackrock, have more than $95 billion combined invested in the producers named in this report.
In Europe, the most heavily invested are BNP Paribas (France), Royal Bank of Scotland (United Kingdom) and Credit Agricole (France). In Asia-Pacific, the biggest investors are Mitsubishi UFJ Financial (Japan), Life Insurance Corporation of India, and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial (Japan).
"Divestment makes it clear to producers that as long as they are involved in nuclear weapon programs, they will be considered illegitimate, and a bad investment."
-- Wilbert van der Zeijden, co-author
Financial Institutions Drop the Bomb
From their Investment Portfolio
53 financial institutions prohibit or limit investments in nuclear weapon producers, shows Don't Bank on the Bomb, a report published today by Dutch peace organization PAX. This is a 50% increase compared to last year's report. The increase illustrates the growing stigmatization of nuclear weapons because of the renewed focus on their humanitarian consequences.
Hall of Fame
Investments in nuclear weapon producers are not a necessity but a choice, as is shown by 13 financial institutions listed in the report's Hall of Fame. These institutions have outstanding policies preventing any types of investment in any company with association to nuclear weapons. These institutions are based in Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Don't Bank on the Bomb is a project of PAX. The report identifies both financial institutions that invest heavily in companies involved in nuclear weapon programs and those that have policies limiting or prohibiting such investments.
Companies that Profit from Building Nuclear WMDs
Aerojet Rocketdyne (US)
Airbus Group (the Netherlands)
Babcock & Wilcox (US)
BAE Systems (UK)
CH2M Hill (US)
Engility Holdings (US)
General Dynamics (US)
Honeywell International (US)
Huntington Ingalls Industries (US)
Jacobs Engineering (US)
Larsen & Toubro (India)
Lockheed Martin (US)
Northrop Grumman (US)
Orbital ATK (US)
Walchandnagar Industries (India)
US Banks and Institutions Investing in Nuclear Weapons
Aquiline Capital Partners
Bank of America
Bank of New York Mellon
California First National Bancorp
Capital One Financial
Charles Schwab Corporation
Citizens Bank & Trust
Citizens Financial Group
City National Corporation
Country Life Insurance Company
Divine Capital Markets
First Pacific Advisors
GE Capital Services
Gathan Asset Management
Hartford Financial Services
Janus Capital Group
JP Morgan Chase
Kennedy Capital Management
Knights of Columbus
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Longview Asset Management
Modern Woodmen of America
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
National Westerns Life Insurance Company
Nationwide Mutual Insurance
New Jersey Department of the Treasury
New York Life Insurance Company
New York State Common Retirement Fund
NewSouth Capital Management
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance
Ohio Public Employees Retirement System
People's United Financial
PNC Financial Services
Poplar Forest Capital
Sentinel Asset Management
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance
State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio
T. Rowe Price
UMB Financial Corp.
Hall of Fame Institutions Boycotting Atomic WMDs
The total number of financial institutions in the Hall of Fame went from eight in the 2014 report to 13 in this report, demonstrating a 163% increase in comprehensive policies stigmatizing nuclear weapons.
This year we welcome four financial institutions into the Hall of Fame that are new in the report.
ASR, a Dutch Insurance company;
Menzis, a Dutch Insurance company;
PFA, a Danish pension fund, and;
Swedish pension fund AP7.
There were 27 financial institutions in the 2014 report, and there are 40 in this report, demonstrating a 148% increase in identified policies stigmatizing nuclear weapons.
This year we welcome 12 new financial institutions into the report;
Aegon, a Dutch Insurance company;
AMF, a Swedish pension fund;
Barclays, a British banking group;
BBVA, a Spanish bank;
Danske Bank, a Danish bank;
Pensam, a Danish pension fund;
PKA, a Danish pension fund;
PME, a Dutch pension fund;
RBS, a British banking group;
Standard Chartered, a British banking group;
Swedish Pension Funds AP1-4, a Swedish pension fund, and;
VDK Spaarbank, a Belgian bank Foreword by Jayantha Dhanapala
In a world of unconscionably high military expenditures which feed the conflicts that cause death, destruction and displacement of millions, we need to be constantly reminded of the wise words of President Dwight Eisenhower - a military man, who distinguished himself in World War II and then went on to be the US President for two terms.
Addressing his nation in a farewell address on January 17, 1961 Eisenhower -- who I was privileged to meet as a student visitor to the US in 1957 -- said:
"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
"We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defence with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
Eisenhower's words have a direct relevance not only for the USA, which accounts for over 40% of global military expenditure, but also for all countries with similar military industrial complexes.
The globally respected Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimates that global military expenditure in 2014 was $1.8 trillion. This must be viewed in juxtaposition with the misery of over one billion of our fellow human beings living below the poverty line of $1.25 per day.
While the 70-year-old UN Charter does provide for self-defence by nation states there is an unambiguous call on the international community to resolve differences through peaceful means and renounce the use of force in international relations (Article 2:4).
The right to self-defence must also be viewed in an ethical perspective and consequently we have the time-honoured distinction between conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction.
In the latter category, we place nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. We also have inhumane weapons such as laser weapons, binary weapons, anti-personnel land mines, and cluster munitions banned because of their clear violation of universally held humanitarian values.
In the same way, lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS) or robotic weapons must be prevented and their development proscribed. This moral perspective is shared by all the religions of the world.
Of those weapons of mass destruction that humankind has been confronted with, we have succeeded in outlawing biological and chemical weapons. We have still to ban nuclear weapons although we know that it is the most destructive weapon invented so far, with catastrophic consequences in terms of the scale of deaths and long-term consequences affecting human genetics and the ecology.
Some advances have been made:
The numbers of nuclear warheads have been reduced to the current level of 15,850 held by nine states;
The Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty has limited the number of states possessing nuclear weapons;
The moratorium on nuclear weapon testing pending the entry-into-force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) will prevent further nuclear weapon explosions in peacetime; and
by having specific geographic areas of the globe and the universe declared nuclear weapon free zones, the chances of the use of nuclear weapons has significantly been reduced.
Nevertheless, nuclear arsenals continue to be modernized and the threat of the use of nuclear weapons by intent or accident and by nation states or by non-state actors is frighteningly real. We must therefore focus on the abolition of nuclear weapons as a priority.
It was in September this year that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: "The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the first and last use of a nuclear weapon in war. The norm against the use of nuclear weapons - the most destructive weapons ever created, with potentially unparalleled human costs - has stood strong for seven decades. But the only absolute guarantee that they are never used again is through their total elimination."
This goal of elimination was a priority established as far back as the very first UN Resolution in January 1946. The UN's first Special Session devoted to Disarmament (SSOD I) in 1978, the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons in 1996, the ICJ Advisory Opinion of 1996, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission of 2004, and several other multilateral statements have concluded that nuclear weapons must be abolished and this has been validated by the evidence we have had on the climatic consequences of even a limited use of nuclear weapons.
I therefore have pleasure in endorsing the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for their admirable work.
ICAN has stated: "The production, maintenance and modernization of nuclear forces diverts vast public resources away from health care, education, climate change mitigation, disaster relief, development assistance and other vital services. Globally, annual expenditure on nuclear weapons is estimated at $105 billion - or $12 million an hour.
The World Bank forecast in 2002 that an annual investment of just $40-60 billion -- or roughly half the amount currently spent on nuclear weapons -- would be enough to meet the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals on poverty alleviation by the target date of 2015."
Unlike other dangerous industries inimical to human welfare -- like the tobacco industry -- with a nuclear weapon it is not possible to look at reform or regulations to mitigate its worst impact on human life.
Abolition as a policy is firmly resisted by the powerful nuclear weapon states and so we must learn the lessons of previous campaigns to advance the work of civil society. The outstanding example is the Anti-apartheid Movement's Divestment Campaign, which struck the first blow in the collapse of that odious system of discrimination in South Africa.
We can do the same with regard to the nuclear weapon industry globally. There are companies driving the industry and if the investment funds for them are cut off we will have struck a blow for a nuclear weapon free world, converting a slogan into a practical reality. The early success achieved since the first "Don't Bank on the Bomb" report is proof that we CAN succeed.
I congratulate PAX, ICAN and others for the diligent research that went into the production of this report and call upon its readers to disseminate the information contained in the following pages. It is global public opinion that at crucial stages has pressured the world to act. The examples are many in history whether it was in the field of human rights, labour legislation, gender equality, sustainable development, the nuclear weapon test ban, climate change or other advances in human development and human security.
Jayantha Dhanapala is the Former UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, Chair of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, Former Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva (1984-1987) and to the USA (1995-98), Former Director of UNIDI (1987-92).
PAX means peace. Together with people in conflict areas and concerned citizens worldwide, PAX works to build just and peaceful societies across the globe. PAX brings together people who have the courage to stand for peace. Everyone who believes in peace can contribute. We believe that all these steps, whether small or large, truly matter and will contribute to a just and peaceful world. www.paxforpeace.nl
ICAN is a global campaign coalition working to mobilize people in all countries to inspire, persuade and pressure their governments to initiate and support negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons. ICAN is comprised of more than 400 partner organisations in over 95 countries. More information about ICAN can be found at: www.ICANw.org