Corporate investments in nuclear weapons
The report found that 325 financial institutions had provided financing of $748 billion to the top 18 nuclear weapons producers between January 2017 and January 2019. The financing provided by the institutions could be loans, investment banking or ownership of more than 0.5% of the shares of at least one of the producing companies.
21 of these finance companies appear in our banking shopping guides and thereby received a half mark in the Arms & Military Supply category. See the Hall of Shame table below for how much money they are providing.
More than half of all investments were made by ten financial institutions, two of which appear in our banking guides:
Blackrock was the second biggest investor of all the 325 institutions. It invested 61,200 million in 2019, up $30,781 million on the previous year,. Blackrock owns 10% of the Janus Henderson ethical investment fund.
Nuclear weapons have been prohibited by a UN treaty since 2017. 82 states have signed the treaty and as of October 2020, 50 have ratified it, meaning it will come into effect in January 2021.
Logically banks and pension funds should now apply the same exclusion and disinvestment policies to nuclear weapons that they use for cluster munition and landmines. To help you show customer demand for this, the UK Nuclear Weapons Financing Research Group have a set of template letters for customers to send to major UK banks and pension providers.
While states and civil society are turning away from the most destructive weapons ever created, these companies are helping the nine countries which still own nuclear weapons, and another 30 so-called nuclear umbrella states, to keep the use of nuclear weapons as part of their security strategies.
Hall of Fame
However, there also appears to be a growing number of financial institutions which are choosing not to fund the nuclear weapons industry. 36 institutions (up from 22 in the 2018 report) were listed in the Report’s ‘Hall of Fame’ for having a comprehensive policy that excluded all types of investments in nuclear weapons companies (withdrawing past investments and avoiding future investments).
Triodos is super transparent and publishes all its investments on it s website. Co-op Bank does not and unfortunately, despite its own policies, it is 12% owned by Invesco, a company that does finance nuclear weapons.