Australian banks criticised for investing in nuclear weapon companies
ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank, Macquarie Group and Westpac are among hundreds of financial institutions globally that help finance the manufacture of nuclear weapons, a new report shows.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is urging the four banks to end their financial dealings with all companies involved in the nuclear weapon industry.
The Don’t Bank on the Bomb report, to be launched today (8 December) by ICAN’s Dutch partner organisation Pax, provides details of loans, shareholdings and bondholdings with nuclear weapon companies.
It also praises several financial institutions for taking a stand against the financing of nuclear weapons – including Australian Ethical, whose website states: “At Australian Ethical, we won’t invest in nuclear or other weapons.”
The report blacklists 27 companies that are “significantly involved in maintaining and modernising the nuclear arsenals of France, India, the United Kingdom and the United States”.
It does not identify any companies involved in other nuclear weapon programmes – such as those of China, Pakistan, Russia or North Korea – which are believed to be primarily or exclusively state-run.
BAE Systems, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Thales are among the blacklisted companies, as they provide components or infrastructure to develop, test, maintain or modernise nuclear weapons.
ICAN and Pax are calling on financial institutions around the world to divest from these companies as a way of pressuring them to end their involvement in the nuclear weapon industry.
Pressure is likely to intensify in 2017 as the United Nations begins negotiations on a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons” – a treaty aimed at closing loopholes in the existing international regime governing nuclear weapons.
“We will work to ensure that this important new treaty expressly prohibits the financing of nuclear weapon production,” said Tim Wright, Asia-Pacific director of ICAN.
“The financial sector, through responsible, ethical decision making, could play a significant role in advancing a world free of nuclear weapons. We urge Australian financial institutions to stop investing in companies that manufacture nuclear weapons.”
Australian section of report:
Upcoming UN negotiations:
Tim Wright (0400 967 233)