A survey of UK pension funds and banks released this week reveals that billions of pounds are invested in companies that are producing nuclear weapons. At a time when spending on public health is a keenly felt priority, the report ‘Banks, Pensions and Nuclear Weapons: Investing in Change’ presents the results of a survey of UK banks and pension funds and their financial links to companies producing nuclear weapons.
The report is launched by the UK Nuclear Weapons Financing Research Group, of which Christian CND is a member. It details the group’s engagement with a sample of UK bank and pension providers to determine current policy and practice on investment in nuclear weapons.
Baroness Sue Miller, Co-President, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, provided the foreword to the report. Noting that nuclear weapons states are likely to spend at least $1 trillion on nuclear weapons over the next ten years, she commented ‘Today many financial institutions express their desire to be a force for good in society but may not realise that their loans and investments finance the development of new nuclear weapons’.
There is patchy awareness among some finance executives of their organisation’s record on nuclear weapons investment. Most companies score poorly but the report notes that some banks and pension funds have stated that they are actively reviewing this area. In the course of the dialogue with financial institutions, the pension providers The People’s Pension and NEST (the government’s default workplace pension scheme with 4.5 million members), said that they would seek the views of their members on investments in nuclear weapons producers.
The report notes that the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will transform the way in which nuclear weapons are treated under international law. This has already affected the investment decisions of banks and pension funds in other countries. The PAX/ICAN Don’t Bank on the Bomb project highlights 36 major financial institutions that now have comprehensive exclusion policies.
Take action: Write to your bank or pension provider