The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) welcomes the 2016 report of the International Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) / Pax Netherlands which considers in much detail the financial institutions providing support for the development of nuclear weapons around the world.
The report, ‘Don’t Bank on the Bomb’, considers financial investments and support for the 27 private companies that manage, maintain or help to develop nuclear weapons for the existing nuclear weapon states.
The report is split into three parts:
- ‘Hall of Fame’ financial institutions – 18 financial institutions, managing more than €1.7 trillion, who completely prohibit any investments to nuclear weapons producers. As ICAN note, these institutions are fully prepared for the legal implications of a ban on nuclear weapons to be negotiated at the UN in 2017. In the UK, the Co-operative Bank is on this list and the NFLA welcomes its progressive policies in this area.
- ‘Runner – up’ financial institutions – 36 institutions have some form of limitation on such investments. In the UK, Barclays Bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered has policies prohibiting investment in nuclear weapons, which are welcome. However, they have exclusion policies which allow the commercial and investment banking subsidiaries of the bank to provide investment in nuclear weapon companies or provide support on behalf of third party investors.
- ‘Hall of Shame’ – 390 financial institutions are providing investment totalling over $498 billion in nuclear weapons producers. In the UK there are 33 such institutions, up from 26 in 2015. (1)
Some of the ways such institutions support private companies involved in the nuclear weapon industry include:
- Providing loans or underwriting facilities to the private companies.
- Providing bonds to the private companies.
- Owning at least 0.5% of shares in one or more of the private companies.
The list of 33 UK financial institutions includes asset management companies, high street banks and insurance companies and they are amongst some of the most well known in the country.
In 2017, the United Nations will be holding conferences to actively consider a nuclear weapon ban treaty. NFLA, as a supporter of ICAN-UK and in alliance with the Mayors for Peace, will be actively calling for and lobbying for nuclear weapon states to take an active part in these important discussions.
NFLA calls on the financial institutions providing support in some way to private companies actively working with nuclear weapon states to review their policies. It urges them to follow the example of the Co-operative Bank and join ICAN’s ‘Hall of Fame’ as a financial institution that completely prohibits investment in nuclear weapons producers. It will do each of their public reputations a great deal of good and make the world a better and safer place.
NFLA Steering Committee Chair Councillor Ernie Galsworthy said:
I welcome this highly detailed report by ICAN and Pax Netherlands which outlines in detail how the private companies maintaining nuclear weapons are part-financed by financial institutions. I warmly congratulate the Co-operative Bank for being in the report’s ‘Hall of Fame’ by prohibiting any investment in nuclear weapon producers. It is now high time for other UK financial institutions to follow the laudable policy of the Co-op Bank. The more that do, the more a peaceful nuclear weapons free world becomes realisable.”
For more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on either 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) ICAN / Pax Netherlands, ‘Don’t Bank on the Bomb – A Global Report on the Financing of Nuclear Weapon Producers’, December 2016 http://www.dontbankonthebomb.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2016_Report_final.pdf