GENEVA (Reuters) - The number of pension funds and asset managers that refuse to invest in nuclear armament makers appears to be growing, although financing is still abundant, an annual survey by anti-nuclear campaigners said on Wednesday.
The report, entitled “Don’t bank on the bomb”, found that 22 financial institutions comprehensively prevented any involvement in nuclear weapon producing companies in 2017, up from 18 in 2016 and 13 in 2015.
The new names included Norway’s Government Pension Fund, Australia’s Future Super, U.S.-based fund manager Green Century and Denmark’s MP Pension, which manages pensions for Danish academics.
There were a further 41 institutions that excluded nuclear weapon producers from their investments, but whose policy was not all-inclusive, up from 36 in 2016 and 40 in 2015.
The report was published by Dutch Christian campaign group PAX and the Geneva-based International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.
“By divesting from nuclear weapon producers, we can make it harder for those that profit from weapons of mass destruction and encourage them to cut the production of nuclear weapons from their business strategies,” ICAN’s executive director Beatrice Fihn wrote in the introduction to the report.
The report found that 329 banks, insurance companies, pension funds and asset managers from 24 countries invested significantly in the top 20 firms involved in nuclear weapons, such as Boeing (BA.N), Lockheed Martin (LMT.N), Northrop Grumman (NOC.N) and General Dynamics (GD.N).
Of the $525 billion invested, $81 billion more than a year previously, more than half came from the top 10 investors, all U.S.-based, led by Blackrock, Capital Group and Vanguard, the report said.
The report examined firms involved in producing key components for the nuclear arsenals of France, India, Britain and the United States.
The maintenance and modernisation of nuclear forces in other nuclear-armed countries, listed as China, North Korea, Israel, Pakistan and Russia, was done mainly or exclusively by the government, it said.
Reporting by Tom Miles, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien