A Boston-based company, Green Century Capital Management, Inc., was today named as the only financial institution based in the United States to be included in Don’t Bank on the Bomb’s ‘Hall of Fame’.
Green Century is an environmentally-friendly investment company which specializes in fossil-free investments. Their comprehensive ethical investment policy also excludes investing in companies involved in the nuclear weapons industry, which is why they have been included in today’s report.
“We don’t think that nuclear weapons belong in responsible investing portfolios,” said Green Century President Leslie Samuelrich. “More than ever before, the threat of using nuclear weapons is making investors want to avoid this deadly and destructive industry and we’re proud to be a choice for those individuals and institutions.”
The Don’t Bank on the Bomb report, which came out today, is part of a global campaign to get banks and other investors to stop financing the production of nuclear weapons. The campaign was given a huge boost last year when 122 nations voted to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, effectively outlawing these weapons as unacceptable to the international community. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was then awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their part in bringing about this new ground-breaking Treaty.
Since the adoption of the Treaty, two of the five largest pension funds in the world have decided to divest from the nuclear industry – ABP in the Netherlands, with over $500 Billion in investments, and the Government Pension Fund of Norway, with over $1 Trillion invested. The report out today highlights a total of 22 financial institutions in 8 countries who have comprehensively divested from the nuclear industry, and a further 41 who have begun the process, but do not fully meet the report’s strict divestment requirements.
In 2016, Cambridge City Council voted to divest the city’s $1 Billion pension fund from the nuclear weapons industry. Implementation of that decision has been blocked by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and there is now a Bill being readied for the State House that would re-open the door to Cambridge and other cities to divest, in compliance with the new Treaty.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the ‘Nuclear Ban Treaty,’ makes it illegal to have anything to do with nuclear weapons, including to “assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Treaty”. That means people working for the companies that make nuclear weapons, banks which finance those companies, and sub-contractors who supply parts to those companies are in violation of the Treaty.
The United States, unsurprisingly, has not yet signed or ratified this new Treaty. So the Treaty does not – yet – have the force of law in this country. However, just as cities, states, businesses and faith communities have lined up to commit themselves to the Paris Climate Accords – whether or not the US is officially signed up to those Accords – so too are cities, states, banks and other institutions lining up to commit themselves to the Nuclear Ban Treaty, whether or not the US has officially signed it.
The Massachusetts-based NuclearBan.US has launched its “Treaty Compliance Campaign” to help cities and other institutions do just that. NuclearBan.US, like Don’t Bank on the Bomb, is a partner of ICAN and part of the global effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons through universal adherence to the new Treaty.
By getting other institutions and investors to join Green Century in divesting from the nuclear weapons companies, NuclearBan.US hopes to encourage the companies themselves to start moving away from nuclear weapons production and towards providing the high-tech renewable energy solutions the world so badly needs right now for addressing climate change.
Dr. Timmon Wallis is co-founder of NuclearBan.US and author of Disarming the Nuclear Argument: the Truth About Nuclear Weapons.
PAX produces the annual Don’t Bank on the Bomb report. It works together with committed citizens and partners to protect civilians against acts of war, to end armed violence, and to build a just peace. More information about PAX can be found at: www.paxforpeace.nl
NuclearBan.US works in the US for the total elimination of all nuclear weapons by putting moral, legal, economic and public relations pressure on the companies involved in the nuclear weapons industry so that they lobby the government to sign the Nuclear Ban Treaty. More information at: www.nuclearban.us
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a coalition of non-governmental organizations in one hundred countries promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty. This landmark global agreement was adopted in New York on 7 July 2017. The campaign was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2017, for their “groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition” of nuclear weapons. More information about ICAN can be found at: www.ICANw.org