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.
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 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.
Offer weapon-free retirement plan options
Company retirement plans should offer fund options that are sustainably invested and exclude arms manufacturers and military contractors.