Do you know if your investment portfolio includes cluster bombs?
Cluster bombs are particularly destructive weapons wreaking havoc in a number of warring countries and territories. Despite a ban by the international community, many retirement funds and financial institutions continue to invest in companies responsible for producing this type of weapon. Furthermore, most individual investors are uninformed of the fact that their retirement savings are being used to manufacture cluster munitions. An awareness-raising campaign began in Sweden where civil society rejected the investment of public savings in arms manufacturers. Popular outcry forced the financial industry to modify its acceptability criteria and divest from the companies in question. In Canada, steps to ban cluster bombs have taken form in the Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act (SC 2014, c 27). To learn more, follow this link.
Recently, two Canadian investors announced the ban of investing in cluster munitions manufacturers. NEI Investments and Desjardins already offer responsible investment funds that always excluded cluster munitions, but this decision goes further by eliminating investments with arms manufacturers for their conventional funds. See the following link to learn more.
It bears mentioning that the two investors put this measure in place following a study of the proposed legislation put forward by the Canadian government. It is reassuring to know that in this case, political action has led to concrete change. Let’s hope this creates a chain reaction, further influencing the exclusion of cluster bombs from the investment industry. Furthermore, it could serve as an example in helping to resolve other investment contradictions undermining human rights, not just in Canada but globally. For example, Norwegian Sovereign Funds exclude investments in companies that by their nature damage or undercut fundamental humanitarian principles:
Land mine manufacturers
- Singapore Technologies Engineering (April 26, 2002)
Cluster munitions manufacturers
- Textron Inc. (December 31, 2008)
- Hanwha Corporation (December 31, 2007)
- Poongsan Corporation (November 30, 2006)
- Raytheon Co. (August 31, 2005)
- General Dynamics corporation (August 31, 2005)
Production of nuclear arms
- Alliant Techsystems Inc. (August 21, 2013)
- Lockheed Martin Corp (August 21, 2013)
- The Babcock & Wilcox Co. (January 11, 2013)
- Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (January 11, 2013)
- Serco Group Plc. (December 31, 2007)
- Gen Corp. Inc. (December 31, 2007)
- Safran SA. (December 31, 2005)
- Northrop Grumman Corp. (December 31, 2005)
- Honeywell International Corp. (December 31, 2005)
- Airbus Group Finance B.V. (December 31, 2005)
- Airbus Group N.V. (December 31, 2005)
- Boeing Co. (December 31, 2005)
For more specific information regarding Canadian banking institutions and retirement funds investing in nuclear arms, follow this link.
For more information on the subject of cluster munitions, follow this link.
*Original blog post written in French by Sara Courcelles.
Translated to English by Kelly Krauter.