Dear friends and colleagues,
What would you do with a billion dollars? A trip around the world, or maybe two? A villa or a cottage? A Jaguar? Stop working? Make a charitable donation? Or, invest in nuclear weapons?
That is what AEGON, ING and Unilever Pension Fund do. This week the global survey Don’t Bank on the Bomb revealed that over 300 banks, insurance companies and pension funds are substantively involved in the financing of nuclear weapons producers by providing loans and underwriting deals, or holding more than 0.5% of shares or bonds. The three Dutch financial institutions mentioned above jointly invest more than one billion dollars. Thus they contribute to maintaining the nuclear arsenals of the United States, the United Kingdom, France and India.
In the coming months there will be a number of key events in the nuclear disarmament agenda: a Preparatory Committee meeting for the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in Vienna and a NATO summit in Chicago. These are key moments to draw attention among diplomats and government leaders to the urgent matter of nuclear disarmament. For disarmament and non-proliferation go hand in hand, and you cannot focus only on non-proliferation challenges, like Iran, without paying equal attention to disarmament obligations.
Asking financial institutions to stop investing in these weapons is a good way to reinforce the disarmament obligation of countries with nuclear weapons. That in turn takes away some of the incentive for others, who do not have the weapons, to ever get them. You’ll find more information about all of these items- divestment, upcoming disarmament meetings, and Iran, in this newsletter.
We hope you find this newsletter helpful, and as always, welcome your feedback.
The No Nukes team, IKV Pax Christi
P.S. We recently start to post our blogs on the brand new blog Protection of Civilians, please look at: http://www.protectionofcivilians.org
You can find the articles of What’s New in Nukes? Newsletter March 2012 here:
1. Iran: opportunities to resolve the current crisis (Wilbert van der Zeijden)
2. Three Dutch financial institutions invest significantly in nuclear weapons producers
3. Looking ahead (Susi Snyder)