The weapons of my bank

Friday, April 1, 2016

Germany - „Die Waffen meiner Bank‟deals with companies manufacturing controversial weapons (i.e. nuclear weapons) and the export of conventional weapons to human rights violating regimes. At the same time, banks policies on the manufacturers of controversial weapons and arms exports are being analysed and contrasted with their investments in those companies.


The report chose 9 arms companies that have been considered due to the production of controversial weapons and/or the export of conventional arms to human rights violating countries and/or instances of corruption in those deals. For those companies, detailed accounts of their controversial activities are given, explaining to the reader the implications of these activities for people worldwide and in regions involved in armed conflict. Additionally, the arms-related policies of 21 German banks have been analysed and assessed whether these prohibit financings and underwritings for the producers of controversial (ABC) weapons and the exporters of conventional weapons to countries involved in armed conflict. To complement this, the financings and underwritings for the selected companies by the selected FIs have been researched for a 3-year period (2012-2015) using Bloomberg, highlighting the total amount of financings per bank and for each company which banks are involved. Before publication, each of the banks included in the report were provided with the findings, and asked to comment. However, only few of the banks replied, and those that replied provided very generic answers while not commenting on any specific arms producing customer.

Main findings

8 of the 21 banks have been found to finance the selected companies, exceeding € 5 billion in total, with all of those banks contradicting at least the spirit of their policies. Generally, the policies of the banks involved in the selected arms companies have been found to be very fragmentary, with banks usually addressing some types of controversial weapons (i.e. land mines, cluster munitions), but not referring to nuclear weapons for instance. Furthermore, especially in relation to companies exporting weapons to countries involved in armed conflict, the banks policies have been found to be mostly non-existent, despite the severity of the issue. Furthermore, the report also highlighted that while all of the church- and sustainability related banks have policies to prohibit financings in weapon manufacturers, only 4 of those banks did not offer investment funds that contained arms manufacturers.


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