Top financial institutions invest over US$43 billion in producers of cluster bombs
Almost a year and a half after the historic signing of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) in Oslo in December 2008, 146 financial institutions from 15 countries around the world still provide over US$ 43 billion worth of investments and financial services to seven producers of cluster bombs. These are the updated findings of the most comprehensive report to date on global financial investments in these banned weapons,‘Worldwide investments in cluster munitions; A shared responsibility , released today in Geneva. Campaigners around the world are now calling on regulators and financial institutions to disinvest from producers of these banned weapons.
"It is unacceptable for leading financial institutions to continue investing in weapons which will be banned under international law and which continue to kill and maim for decades after they are used," said Roos Boer, from IKV Pax Christi and one of the report authors. "These killer weapons are highly stigmatized for the humanitarian harm they cause. It is very disappointing to see that so many leading banks continue to invest in them," she added.
The human and economic cost of these weapons is well documented. Like landmines, cluster bombs have killed and injured thousands of civilians during the last 40 years and continue to do so long after a conflict has ended. On August 1st, 2010, the Convention on Cluster Munitions will enter into force and become binding under international law.
Despite this, the world's top financial institutions continue to finance the following seven leading producers of cluster bombs and cluster bomb components: Alliant Techsystems (USA), Hanwha (South Korea), L-3 Communications (USA), Lockheed Martin (USA) Poongsan (South Korea), Singapore Technologies Engineering (Singapore) and Textron (USA) . Since May 2007, these financial institutions provided:
- Investment banking services worth over US$6,712.15 million
- Loans amounting to at least US$3,190.26 million
- Owned or managed shares and bonds for at least US$33,116.1 million
The publication by Cluster Munition Coalition members, IKV Pax Christi (the Netherlands) and Netwerk Vlaanderen (Belgium), categorizes retail banks, investment banks, asset management companies and private and public pensions into a "Hall of Shame," a "Hall of Fame" and "runners-up" category, based on their investment policies and practices. The report also looks at legislative initiatives to prohibit investment in cluster munitions.
Leading in the Hall of Shame for:
- Investment banking services to companies producing cluster munitions (in millions): Bank of America (US$ 873.25), JP Morgan Chase (US$ 776.72), Goldman Sachs (US$ 726.32), Deutsche Bank (US$ 512.65), and HSBC (US$ 447.33) provided the largest amount of investment banking services since May 2007.
- Loans to companies producing cluster munitions (in millions): Bank of America (US$ 436.25), Citigroup (US$ 321.25), Goldman Sachs (US$ 250), Credit Agricole CIB (US$155) and Barclays (US$154.38) provided the largest amounts of loans since May 2007.
- Asset management: State Street, Capital Group, BlackRock, Temasek Holdings and Vanguard Group provided the largest asset management services based on their portfolio by the winter of 2009-2010. The involvement of Temasek Holdings is solely due to its major holding of 50.31% of the shares of Singapore Technologies Engineering.
Of the 146 financial institutions in the Hall of Shame, 102 are from countries that have not (yet) signed the CCM, and over half are from the United States. Sixteen are based in four countries that have signed and ratified the CCM (France, Germany, Japan and Spain) and 28 are from countries that have signed but not yet ratified the CCM. Thirty-two financial institutions investing in producers of cluster munitions are from the European Union, and 31 of these financial institutions are from countries that have signed the CCM.
"It is time to stop the double standard - countries should adopt policies to prevent these investments and financial institutions should disinvest from these banned weapons," said Esther Vandenbroucke, of Netwerk Vlaanderen and one of the report authors. "We praise the governments and financial institutions which have taken clear steps to stop investments in these killer weapons and we will be campaigning for others to do the same," she concluded.
The Hall of Fame includes: Twenty-one financial institutions with strong policies, which are all from countries which have signed the CCM. These include five government managed pension funds from Norway, Ireland, New Zealand and Sweden, three ethical banks and 13 private institutions. The research shows that strong government policies help. The Norwegian Pension Fund has excluded producers of cluster munitions since 2004.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) enters into force on August 1st, 2010, when over 100 countries around the world will be forbidden under international law, to produce, use, stockpile or transfer these banned weapons, as well as to assist others to do so. Although the CCM does not explicitly prohibit financial investments, it can be interpreted as a form of "assistance", which is prohibited under Article 1C of the Convention.
Activists will use this new information to strengthen their campaigning efforts which name and shame financial institutions who continue to invest in cluster bomb producers and to praise and support those who disinvest.
Notes to the editor:
The first report by IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen on ‘Worldwide investments in cluster munitions; A shared responsibility was published in London, in October 2009. The first report listed investments found from January 1, 2007 until August 1, 2009. This update lists investments found between 1 May, 2007 and 28 February, 2010. For asset management, the portfolio as per March 2010 is included.
One of the sectors that these companies is active in is the production of weapons and munitions, which include cluster bombs. We regard a company as a producer, regardless of the nature and size of any of its other activities.
The Dutch research company Profundo conducted the research on the financial links in this report.
As of this update, within the European Union, 20 out of the 27 European Union member countries have signed the CCM, and 10 EU member countries have ratified the CCM.
Triodos Bank (the Netherlands), ABP (the Netherlands), AP1 - 4 (Sweden), AP7 (Sweden), ASN Bank (the Netherlands), ATP (Denmark), Banca Etica (Italy), BPF Bouw (the Netherlands), DnB NOR, (Norway), Ethias (Belgium), KLP (Norway), KPA (Sweden), Norwegian Government Pension Fund - Global (Norway)}, National Pensions Reserve Fund (Ireland), NZ SuperannuationFund (New Zealand), PGGM (the Netherlands), Philips Pension Fund (the Netherlands), PME (the Netherlands), PNO Media (the Netherlands), Spoorwegpensioenfonds (the Netherlands), Storebrand (Norway), Triodos Bank (the Netherlands).
State laws against investments
The Convention on Cluster Munitions has been signed by 104 countries and 30 countries have already ratified it. The Convention will enter into force on 1 August 2010.
In addition, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and New Zealand have already made it illegal under domestic law to invest in cluster munitions producers. Other states like Lebanon have already stated that they see investment as one of the prohibited forms of assistance in the Convention on Cluster Munitions. More countries are expected to follow suit.
Where are the finance companies based?
US based financial institutions make up for more than 50% percent of the financial institutions included in the Hall of Shame.
Forty four of the 146 financial institutions are from countries that have signed the CCM including thirty one from European Union member countries. At the time of writing the report, 20 out of the 27 EU member countries had signed the CCM, and eight EU member countries had ratified the CCM.
About IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen
Netwerk Vlaanderen promotes an environmentally and socially responsible approach to money, and strives for a just society. Netwerk Vlaanderen informs and advices on ways of using money that benefit people, society, and the environment. - Netwerk Vlaanderen vzw - Vooruitgangstraat 333b9 - 1030 Brussels, Belgium +32 (0)2 201 07 70
IKV Pax Christi works for peace, reconciliation and justice in the world. IKV Pax Christi is the largest peace organization in The Netherlands and works in over 25 countries and on several issues related to security and disarmament. IKV Pax Christi - PO Box 19318 - 3501 DH Utrecht - The Netherlands +31 (0)30 233 33 46 -
About cluster bombs
A cluster munition (or cluster bomb) is a weapon containing multiple - often hundreds - of small explosive sub munitions or bomblets. Cluster munitions are dropped from the air or fired from the ground and designed to break open in mid-air, releasing the sub munitions over an area that can be the size of several football fields. This means they cannot discriminate between civilians and soldiers. Many of the sub munitions fail to explode on impact and remain a threat to lives and livelihoods for decades after a conflict.
About the Convention on Cluster Munitions
The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions and requires countries to clear affected areas within 10 years and destroy stockpiles of the weapon within eight. The CCM includes groundbreaking provisions requiring assistance to victims and affected communities. Opened for signature in Oslo in December 2008, it is the most significant international disarmament treaty since the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty banning antipersonnel landmines.
The following 104 countries have signed the Convention
Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, The Dominican Republic, DR Congo, Republic of Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte D`Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, The Holy See, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Madagascar , Malawi, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tomé and Principe, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Zambia.
Of these, the following 30 countries have ratified the Convention
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, The Holy See, Ireland, Japan, Lao PDR, Luxembourg, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malawi, Malta, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, San Marino, Slovenia, Sierra Leone, Spain, Uruguay and Zambia.