CADU members are actively campaigning to stop banks investing in companies who produce DU weapons, cluster munitions and land mines.
Does your bank support uranium weapons manufacturers?
On November 6th 2007 ICBUW member organisations launched a global disinvestment campaign against investments by high street banks and investment companies around the world in the manufacturers of uranium weapons. This is campaigning that anyone with a bank account can take part in, not only individuals but also schools, business and other organisations.
Banks play a crucial role in financing product development, acquisitions and expansion in the arms industry. We believe that banks also have a crucial role to play in cleaning up the financial system and in turn, the arms industry.
Through the research of Netwerk Vlaaderen, Banktrack and War on Want, we now have data on the extent to which many of your high street banks finance the manufacturers of illegal and indiscriminate weapon systems. Not only uranium weapons but often cluster bombs, land mines and nuclear weapons.
As customers it is up to us to use what influence we have to encourage the banking system to clean up its act.
Step 1 - Check who you bank with.
Many large financial institutions own subsidiaries, it can be complicated trying to unpick the web that they weave, http://www.wikipedia.org has some good information on banks and their businesses. For example, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) owns Citizen’s Bank in the US and not only invests in DU manufacturers but has also long been financier to the oil industry. Keep a critical eye out for ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ reports, they inevitably contain a lot of greenwash and marketing babble.
Step 2 - Get informed.
At the end of this article are two reports: ‘Too Risky for Business’ details investments by dozens of banks worldwide, including banks in the US, Germany, Japan etc. In all likelihood yours will be on here. The abstract has a handy table of banks and their investments. If you bank with any of the major UK banks, War on Want’s excellent ‘Banking on Bloodshed’ is a good place to start. Alternatively CADU has produced a UK-specific leaflet, you can download it at the end of this article.
Step 3 - Ethical banking.
There are banks out there that refuse to invest in the arms industry or in the manufacturers of indiscriminate weapons. Two examples are the UK Cooperative Bank and Triodos. The Cooperative has recently classified uranium weapons as indiscriminate and banned investments into their manufacturers.
Step 4 – Close your account.
If you have identified that your bank invests in indiscriminate weapons, close your account and tell them why you are doing it. You’ll want to send a letter to your branch and to the bank’s head office. It seems like a pain but it is easier than you think to move accounts, the bank you are moving it to will make it easy for you, you may want to explain to them why you are doing it.
Step 5 – Why stop there?
Why not encourage family, friends and workmates to shift their accounts too? Employers, organisations and educational establishments may also be fertile ground for action. If you are really incensed by what banks are doing with your money, why not organise an action? You might also want to become a shareholder so that you can raise the issue at the bank’s shareholder meetings. This can be a very effective way or raising the profile of the issue.
Too Risky for Business - abstract (392 Kb - Format pdf)ICBUW, Banktrack and Netwerk VlaanderenAbstract of the Too Risky for Business report
Too Risky for Business (1250 Kb - Format pdf)ICBUW, Banktrack and Netwerk VlaanderenReport by ICBUW, Banktrack and Netwerk Vlaanderen on how banks are funding uranium weapons producers.
War on Want: Banking on Bloodshed (1391 Kb - Format pdf)War on WantIn this report War on Want exposes the extent of the UK banking industry’s complicity in the arms trade. Databases uncovered by War on Want reveal for the first time the billions of pounds of customers’ money that high street banks use to finance the production of weapons. The arms industry sells products designed to maim or kill human beings or destroy a country’s assets and infrastructure. This industry fuels war and poverty and undermines development worldwide, contributing to the suffering of millions.