Making a killing, your bank is investing in nuclear weapons

Other | Friday 23rd March 2018 | Jake

The 2018 Don’t Bank on the Bomb report was recently published by PAX, an organisation that promotes global peace and a member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons. The report studies the global investments of banks in nuclear weapon producers.

329 financial institutions invested $525 billion in the top 20 companies producing nuclear weaponry between January 2014 and October 2017. The report found that only two banks operating in the UK invested no money in companies producing nuclear weapons, namely The Co-operative Bank and Triodos.

Four banks operating in the UK were praised for policies that exclude nuclear weapon producers from their investments. These policies, however, contain loopholes that allow these four to “allow for some investments.”

One of those four banks, Barclays, is guilty of investing almost $8 billion in nuclear weapon manufacturers through loopholes, making them one of the biggest investors in Europe.

Overall there has been a decrease in the number of banks investing in these companies, but an $81 billion increase in the total money invested. Banks invested in nuclear weapon manufacturers by owning or managing shares, bonds or outstanding loans, they also assisted with share and bond issuances.

There is hope that banks will eventually move away from investment, following the UN’s introduction of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Although all nine nuclear-armed countries (the US, Britain, France, Russia, India, Pakistan, North Korea, China and Israel) abstained from supporting the treaty, the majority of UN members adopted it, and there is growing pressure on banks to invest ethically.

The treaty has prompted two of the world’s five largest pension funds to alter their relationship with nuclear weapons producers. The fifth-largest pension fund, ABP, has confirmed it will no longer allow manufacturers access to their $500 billion asset pool.