‘How can investing in nuclear weapon producers be sustainable?’
This question was posed by Krista van Velzen, campaigner nuclear disarmament for Dutch peace organisation PAX, while addressing 48 members of the advisory board of the biggest Dutch pension fund ABP. During their meeting in the World Trade Centre they were discussing the new ABP sustainability policy. While explaining what sustainability should really be about, the members were given a big chocolate letter.
When Saint Nicolas visits the Netherlands, traditionally the children are given chocolate letters for their good behaviour in the year that has passed. The letter had a note attached (‘K staat kernwapen, ABP voor Atoom Bommen Pensioenfonds?) which roughly translates as ‘This chocolate letter N stands for Nukes, ABP for Nuclear Weapon Pension fund?’) and asked the members to raise their voice for a good sustainability policy that excludes investing in weapons of mass destruction.
‘The international trend is that more and more banks and pension funds stop investing in nuclear weapons. This is clearly something the participants in this pension fund desire the ABP to do as well. It’s about time the ABP starts listening to their participants.’
Van Velzen is also a participant in the ABP fund herself: ‘We are trying to convince governments to ban nuclear weapons. The ABP should not use the lack of a clear ban as an excuse to not take responsibility for their investments. As a participant in this obliged fund I can not choose to be with another pensionfund. This makes it even more important to listen to the fund participants. A good sustainability policy should exclude investments in weapons of mass destruction.’