Don’t Bank on the Bomb, a project in conjunction with ICAN, took advantage of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons to urge BNP Paribas to withdraw their $8 billion support for nuclear weapons producing companies. The production of nuclear weapons will soon be illegal under international law when the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons comes into force.
Simultaneous protests took place in more than a dozen countries today. This global day of action urged BNP Paribas to make its policy matter and stop investing in nuclear weapons producers. Though BNP Paribas has a policy restricting investment in companies associated with the production of nuclear weapons, it has provided US$8 billion in financing to 16 nuclear weapons producing companies in the last 4 years.
“The ‘bank for a changing world’ has the opportunity to deliver real change and contribute to a nuclear-free world,” said ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn. “They are investing in weapons that are inhumane and violate humanitarian law and the laws of war. They are neither a sound nor ethical investment.”
Susi Snyder of Pax, who is running the global day of action with ICAN, said: “BNP should immediately publish their exclusion list and increase transparency about where they are and aren’t investing. A leader in sustainable investment shouldn’t have anything to hide.”
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted by the UN in July 2017 and will enter into force once a further 31 states join the 19 who have already ratified it, bans any type of assistance with the production or manufacture of nuclear weapons – including financing the companies involved.
“If BNP Paribas wants real change in the world, it should fix its policy by referencing complete prohibition on all forms of assistance with nuclear weapons under the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” said Ms. Snyder.
The protests today called on BNP Paribas to:
- Increase Transparency. BNP Paribas uses a list of controversial companies to avoid investment. However, this list is private. As a first step, BNP Paribas should make this list public.
- Fix the policy. BNP Paribas already has a policy restricting investment in companies associated with the production of nuclear weapons. However, the policy is a failure. It can be fixed by changing the reference from the Non Proliferation Treaty (allowing them to invest in companies associated with the arsenals of China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US) to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (so they can’t invest in any nuclear weapon associated company, anywhere), and applying the policy to all financial products and services it offers- including things like asset management.
- Divest. BNP Paribas has a number of long-term investments in nuclear weapons producing companies, and it can take time to fully disinvest, but it can announce that it will not participate in any new financial relationships with any nuclear weapon producing company and will increase the level of engagement with current companies to encourage them to stop making the key components for nuclear weapons.
More information can be found at: https://bnp-divest.org