The issue: Arms manufacturers

Weapon companies profit from military interventions

Through the global weapons trade, some arms manufacturers supply military goods to states at risk of using weapons for oppression or aggression. Responsible investors do not want to profit from companies that sell products that are used to endanger human security.

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Retirement plans are invested in arms manufacturers and military contractors

In 2020, world military spending rose to almost $2 trillion, with much of it going to private sector arms-producing and military services corporations, including publicly-traded investor-owned companies.

Despite global calls for restraint and nuclear disarmament, new nuclear weapons are being developed in all nuclear armed countries, with investor-owned companies involved in constructing, maintaining, and stockpiling nuclear weapons. Some arms producers also manufacture internationally-banned weapons like cluster munitions.

Asset managers like Vanguard are investing in militarism – and they’re using workers’ retirement plan savings to do so. Through Vanguard, the retirement plans of companies like Amazon and Comcast are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into major arms manufacturers and military contractors.

FOCUS: SUSTAINABILITY RISK

Cluster munitions

Cluster munitions are indiscriminate weapons that pose a serious threat to civilian populations during and long after their use. The devastating humanitarian effects of cluster munitions are well documented.

Research from Dutch peace group PAX has found that financial institutions are continuing to invest in publicly-traded arms manufacturers that have produced key components for cluster munitions or explosive submunitions since the signing of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2008.

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The Solutions

Offer weapon-free retirement plan options

Company retirement plans should offer fund options that are sustainably invested and exclude arms manufacturers and military contractors.

FAQs

Answers to common questions about how retirement plans and asset managers are financing militarism.


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As You Sow is not an investment adviser as that term is defined under federal and state (California) laws and regulations. As You Sow is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering shareholders to change corporations for the good through the collection, analysis and dissemination of relevant information to the public, free of charge. As You Sow does not provide financial planning, legal or tax advice. Nothing on this website shall constitute or be construed as an offering of financial instruments, or as investment advice or investment recommendations.
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