Nr. dodgy deals
ING partly disinvest from controversial weapons
Brussels, Mar 29 2005
ING, the largest private financial institution in the Benelux countries, and the 11th largest in the world, has decided to no longer invest in companies producing controversial weapons. The types of weapons excluded by ING are: anti-personnel mines, cluster bombs, depleted uranium weapons, biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. Netwerk Vlaanderen, Forum voor Vredesactie, For Mother Earth and Vrede have been campaigning since 2003 for an end to investments of Belgian banks in the arms trade. Their campaign “My Money. Clear Conscience?” has put pressure on ING to make this important step in the direction of a peaceful investment policy.
The weapons systems from which ING is disinvesting are indeed controversial. They make no distinction between military and civilian targets, and their use causes disproportionate suffering.
Big companies in the spotlight
In a report published in early 2004, Netwerk Vlaanderen revealed that AXA, DEXIA, Fortis, ING and KBC all invested in producers of these controversial weapons, including some of the largest arms companies in the world. Companies that Netwerk Vlaanderen believes that ING should disinvest from include ATK, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Singapore Technologies Engineering and General Dynamics. ATK is the most important ammunition supplier for the US army, and is involved in the production of uranium weapons and cluster bombs. Lockheed Martin is the largest arms producer in the world, and produces nuclear weapons and cluster bombs, amongst other weapon systems. This new policy should lead to ING abandoning direct links with some of the largest arms companies in the world.
Important step, but some reservations
Netwerk Vlaanderen, Forum voor Vredesactie, For Mother Earth and Vrede applaud the step that ING has made, and hope that the other bank groups will follow this example. After KBC, which last year withdrew from a number of controversial weapon systems, ING is the second bank group to take a clear standpoint on this issue.
Netweerk Vlaanderen: +32 2 274 00 15
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