"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." — Elie Wiesel

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Divestment: Putting our money to work for peace

Divestment works! The divestment campaign mounted in the 1980s in protest of South Africa's apartheid system pressured the South African Government to begin negotiations ultimately leading to the dismantling of the Apartheid system.

Today we have a 70-year legacy of building and maintaining nuclear weapons that has benefited only the companies that have built and maintained them, along with the companies and organizations (and individuals) that have invested in them.

The newest Don't Bank on the Bomb report, from the Dutch organization PAX, identifies 390 banks, insurance companies and pension funds that still invest in nuclear weapon producing companies. Since 2013, these companies have made nearly half a trillion dollars available to companies involved in the production of nuclear weapons.

The vast majority of governments in the United Nations recently voted to negotiate a nuclear weapons ban treaty in 2017, and it is high time for financial institutions to make the moral/ethical decision to stop investing in companies involved with nuclear weapons.

Currently, eighteen financial institutions, managing more than $1.8 trillion, prohibit investments in nuclear weapons producers. These institutions are prepared for the legal implications of a ban on nuclear weapons to be negotiated at the UN in 2017.

Another 36 institutions have some form of limitation on such investments. But far too many institutions are still investing in nuclear weapons producers, according to the Don’t Bank on the Bomb report.

Don't Bank on the Bomb tells us what companies are working on nuclear weapons, who is investing in them (the Hall of Shame), and most importantly - who is not (the Hall of Fame). With this information we, as both individuals and organizations, can make informed decisions about our investments.  As clients and investors we can pressure the banks, pension funds and insurance companies to divest and reinvest in a responsible way. This is just one important way we can bring about the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Read the Don't Bank on the Bomb report and share it widely. Then we can all put our hard-earned money to work for peace.