NUCLEAR WEAPONS are increasingly being rejected by the financial community, a new report from PAX, the Netherland peace organisation, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) shows. A total of 109 banks, pension funds and other financial institutions worldwide now have policies that limit or completely exclude any financial engagement with the nuclear weapons industry.

After more than a year of devastating war in Ukraine, the risk that nuclear weapons could be used lurks in the background. Any use of nuclear weapons would be catastrophic. Yet the condemnation of Russia’s nuclear threats by many states – which are either nuclear-armed or endorse nuclear weapons in their security doctrines – sound hollow, as they fail to recognise their own role in creating the current level of nuclear risk.

Fortunately, many financial sector actors are taking a more responsible approach, by embracing the positive role they can play in further stigmatising and delegitimising nuclear weapons.

The number of financial institutions listed in the Don’t Bank on the Bomb reports has grown steadily over the last decade, with the largest spike in policies being seen since the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons’ (TPNW) entry into force in 2021. Many institutions profiled refer in their policies to the TPNW. They are based in Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and are leading the way for their governments who have yet to join the Treaty.

In reflecting on the report, Susi Snyder, ICAN’s Programme Coordinator and one of the contributing authors said “investing in nuclear weapons is controversial. Whether because of the industry’s negative impacts on human rights, or the impact on the environment, or the indiscriminate and inhumane nature of these products, nuclear weapons are a problem and no one should invest in the industry with impunity.”

Alejandra Muñoz of the No Nukes Project at PAX and the main author of the report said: “The growing number of financial institutions listed in the report is a welcome development. Strong financial sector engagement can provide a resilient mechanism to decrease the legitimacy of nuclear weapons and create an environment for their reduction and eventual elimination.”

One of the institutions new to the report is SpareBank 1 SR-Bank in Norway. Director, Sustainability, Guro Elgheim Sivertsen, said: “As a sustainable bank, we aim to uphold and strengthen norms that protect our future and our planet. We therefore maintain a zero-tolerance approach to any investments in the companies involved in building nuclear weapons.”

Don’t Bank on the Bomb is a joint project of ICAN and PAX. It is the only regularly published source of information on the private companies involved in the production of nuclear weapons and their financiers. The report also profiles those institutions that restrict or completely exclude any financial engagement with the companies associated with the production of nuclear weapons.

* Read the report: Moving Away from Mass Destruction: 109 exclusions of nuclear weapon producers here.

* Source: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons