Tuesday 10 December 2019

Aid group calls on pension funds to ditch dubious arms investments

Photo: zeferli@gmail.com via Depositphotos.com

Nine of the biggest Dutch pension funds are investing in companies which supply weapons to regimes that violate human rights, according to research by Dutch aid group Pax.

Pax says the funds invest more than €1bn in dubious weapons manufacturers, with civil service giant ABP plus health fund PFZW and engineering fund PME accounting for €927m of the total.

The findings come from a new study by the Fair Pension Guide.

‘Some of most Dutch people’s retirement money is invested in arms companies that, for instance, keep Saudi Arabia’s jet fighters in the air,’ PAX spokesman Cor Oudes said in a statement. ‘These planes drop bombs that kill and maim civilians in Yemen.’

The study looks at the largest companies supplying weapons to around 50 countries either currently involved in an armed conflict or which violate human rights.

Aircraft engines

Of the 14 companies supplying weapons to countries with poor human rights records, United Technologies Corporation and General Electric have the most Dutch pension fund investment.

Both companies provide and maintain aircraft engines for the air forces of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Pax says.

The organisation says pension funds should develop good arms trade policies and urges funds to encourage these arms manufacturers to stop selling arms to dubious regimes.

‘If the manufacturers fail to take action, pension funds should exclude these companies from their investments,’ Pax said.

Last year, civil service pension fund ABP, one of the biggest pension funds in world, said it is phasing out all investments in tobacco and nuclear weapons.

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