Swedish bank changes weapons investments following FFG research

Monday, February 10, 2020

Our network's ongoing investigations in to banking practices do more than show dodgy deals, they also prompt positive changes from the banks involved.

When FFG Sweden launched Deadly Investments, a major case study following up on banks’ involvement in controversial arms trading, it showed that although Swedish banks continue to invest and finance such companies, some have made changes for the better. 

Handelsbanken, one of the largest Swedish banks took the decision during the FFG research and inquiries to completely remove and stop investing in arms companies through all their investment funds (also index funds), because they said the sector contravenes the SDGs. Good news and a positive example for other banks to follow.

The latest research also shows:

Banks altogether invest in fewer of these arms companies and to a lesser total amount than in 2016.

All banks have improved their financial policies regarding controversial arms trade.

Swedbank has improved the most and commits now to 86% of the FFG principles, up from 14% in 2016.

Swedbank has modelled several of the FFG methodologies for its own policies on which companies would be compliant.

Swedbank, one of the largest shareholders in controversial arms company SAAB, has initiated a dialogue process with them to try to make it adhere to the banks’ new policies. We are hopeful that as one of the largest shareholders that they will achieve impact. Otherwise Swedbank will have to withdraw their financing and investments.

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