Call for nuclear divestment

March 5, 2012

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“Each year, the nine nuclear-armed nations spend a combined total of more than US$100 billion on their nuclear forces – assembling new warheads, modernizing old ones, and building ballistic missiles, bombers and submarines to launch them. Much of this work is being carried out by private companies.”

So begins Don’t Bank on the Bomb (7 MB PDF file, 180 pages), a new report from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons:

Don’t Bank on the Bomb is the first major global report on the financing of companies that manufacture, modernize and maintain nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles. It identifies more than 300 banks, insurance companies, pension funds and asset managers from 30 countries that invest significantly in 20 major nuclear weapons producers. With the information and arguments contained in this report, concerned citizens can put pressure on these and other financial institutions around the world to end their support for the nuclear weapons industry.

By lending money to nuclear weapons companies, and purchasing their shares and bonds, banks and other financial institutions are indirectly facilitating the build-up and modernization of nuclear forces, thereby heightening the risk that one day these ultimate weapons of terror will be used again – with catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences. Divestment from nuclear weapons companies is an effective way for the corporate world to advance the goal of nuclear abolition.

The report argues that a “coordinated global campaign for nuclear weapons divestment is urgently needed”:

It can help put a halt to modernization programmes, strengthen the international norm against nuclear weapons, and build momentum towards negotiations on a universal nuclear weapons ban. Some financial institutions, including government funds, have already opted to exclude nuclear weapons companies from their investment portfolios. Others must now follow suit.

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