14 April 2010
Banks urged to stop funding cluster bomb producers
Roos Boer of IKV Pax Christi and Esther Vandenbroucke of Netwerk Vlaanderen with their updated report on investment in cluster munitions, outside the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Photo credit: Mary WarehamBanks urged to stop funding cluster bomb producersDespite impending ban, funds still invest US$43 billion in companies making the weapons(Geneva, 14 April 2010) - Leading financial institutions worldwide continue to invest more than US$43 billion in producers of cluster munitions despite a comprehensive treaty banning the weapons set to become binding international law, according to new research presented by Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) members in Geneva today."Many leading banks have already changed their policies to reflect the growing international revulsion toward cluster munitions,"said Thomas Nash, Coordinator of the CMC. "It's time for all financial institutions to stop the flow of funds to companies that produce cluster bombs, which cause tremendous human suffering and hamper development."The new research updates the findings of "Worldwide investments in cluster munitions: A shared responsibility,"the most comprehensive study to date of the role of financial institutions in funding cluster munition production. CMC member organisations IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen co-authored the October 2009 report, and this update surveys 182 financial institutions in more than 20 countries - including retail banks, investment banks, asset-management companies and private and public pensions. The report looks into the investment practices of financial institutions to categorise them into a "Hall of Shame,"a "Hall of Fame"and "runners-up.""It is unacceptable for leading financial institutions to continue investing in weapons which are to be banned under international law and which continue to kill and maim for decades after they are used,"said Roos Boer of IKV Pax Christi and a co-author of the report. "These killer weapons are illegal and highly stigmatised, so it is very disappointing to see that so many leading banks continue to invest in them."The human and economic cost of cluster munitions is well-documented. The weapons have killed and injured thousands of civilians during the last 40 years and continue to do so, long after conflicts are over. Globally, 105 countries have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which comprehensively bans the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of the weapons, and which will enter into force and become binding international law on 1 August 2010.Some of the world's top financial institutions undermine this commitment to ban cluster bombs by continuing to finance the following seven leading producers of the weapons and their components: Alliant Techsystems ATK (USA), Hanwha (South Korea), L-3 Communications (USA), Lockheed Martin (USA) Poongsan (South Korea), Singapore Technologies Engineering (Singapore) and Textron (USA). Since May 2007, financial institutions provided these companies with:
- investment banking services worth more than US$6,712.15 million;
- loans amounting to at least US$3,190.26 million; and
- owned or managed shares and bonds for at least US$33,116.1 million.