Nuclear investments: Super Fund, banks and Serco ...
The 2018 Don't Bank on the Bomb report was released last night. The report is produced by PAX - a member of the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (iCAN) - and is the only report published each year detailing the global investments by financial institutions in companies producing nuclear weapons.
This year's report details an increase of $(US)81
billion in new investment in 2017 compared to 2016. The
report shows 20 companies in particular stand to profit the
most from the increase in nuclear threats.
The 2018 Don’t Bank on the Bomb Report found:
A total of $(US)525 billion (an increase of $(US)81 billion)
was made available to the nuclear weapon producing
companies, of which $(US)110 billion came from just three
companies: BlackRock, Vanguard and Capital
~ 329 banks, insurance companies, pension funds and asset managers from 24 countries invest significantly in nuclear weapons
The top 20 nuclear weapon producing companies stand to benefit the most from this increased nuclear threat, most of which have dedicated significant lobbying resources in Washington DC
~ On a positive note, since the adoption of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons 30 companies have ceased investing in nuclear weapons.
~ Two of the top five largest pension funds in the world are divesting from nuclear weapons.
There are no New Zealand financial institutions in the 2018 'Hall of Fame', as there have been in previous years, although the Super Fund is included in the Runners-up, the list of "imperfect exclusions" - financial institutions that have taken the step to exclude nuclear weapon producers from their investments, but whose policy is not all-inclusive. While commending the Super Fund for adopting a public policy on nuclear weapons, the report recommends that the Super Fund "exclude all nuclear weapons producing companies involved in all delivery systems specifically designed for nuclear weapons. Furthermore, the Fund should extend the scope of the policy to all financial products, including assets in pooled hedge fund mandates".
Three of the Australian owned banks that operate in New Zealand - ANZ, ASB (part of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia) and Westpac - are included in the list of financial institutions that have been involved in financing one or more of 20 selected nuclear weapon companies between January 2014 and October 2017. Two of these - the ANZ and ASB, via the Commonwealth Bank of Australia - have been involved in financing Serco, among others, by $(US)45 million and $(US)98 million respectively.
Serco New Zealand (part of the British company that, along with Lockheed Martin and Jacobs Engineering Group, manages the operations of Britain's Atomic Weapons Establishment, and is responsible for manufacturing, maintaining and developing new nuclear warheads for Britain's arsenal) is also supported financially by the New Zealand government - initially through its (now rescinded) contract to run the Mt Eden Corrections Facility, and currently through its 25 year contract to operate the Auckland South Corrections Facility. Any contract with Serco arguably comprises a breach of the prohibitions in the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act (1987) on aiding or abetting anyone involved in the manufacture or possession of any nuclear explosive device.
As the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons moves towards entry into force, now is the time for all financial institutions around the world to stop any association with nuclear weapon production, divest if investments exist, and establish solid policies preventing any future investment - as Don't Bank on the Bomb's author Susi Snyder (PAX) has pointed out: “The Nuclear Ban Treaty has sparked momentum towards divestment, shown by 10% fewer investors in nuclear weapon producers, and an increase in financial institutions comprehensively prohibiting any investment. Investments are not neutral, these companies should be congratulated for standing on the side of humanity”.
It is particularly important for New Zealand, as it prepares to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, to ensure that all New Zealand financial institutions and government contracts are fully consistent not only with the ban Treaty's provisions but also with the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act (1987).
Links to more information:
~ Don't Bank on the
Bomb, download the full report, or download it chapter by
chapter, at https://www.dontbankonthebomb.com/2018-report
~ Information about the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act (1987) and is available on the iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand site, http://www.icanw.org.nz