Report: Dutch banks investing in nuclear weapons, arms programs

Handguns
Clockwise starting at topleft: Glock G22, Glock G21, Kimber Custom Raptor, Dan Wesson Commander, Smith & Wesson Air Weight .357, Ruger Blackhawk .357, Ruger SP101, Sig Sauer P220 Combat. (File Photo: Joshuashearn / Wikimedia Commons). (Clockwise starting at topleft: Glock G22, Glock G21, Kimber Custom Raptor, Dan Wesson Commander, Smith & Wesson Air Weight .357, Ruger Blackhawk .357, Ruger SP101, Sig Sauer P220 Combat. (File Photo: Joshuashearn / Wikimedia Commons))

A number of Dutch banks are not fully complying with the commitments they made to improve the sustainability of their investments. Some banks are still investing in nuclear weapons and arms programs.

This is according to a study done by the Eerlijke Bankwijzer, or Fair Bank Guide in English, in which the guide looked at commitments banks made and the steps they took to comply with these commitments.

The study found that despite improving their arms policy in recent years, Aegon, Delta Lloyd, ING and SNS Reaal are still investing in producers of nuclear weapons and companies operating in controversial weapons. In the past few years Van Lanschot invested in at least one nuclear weapon producer.

ABN Amro and ING are more systematically researching whether companies are involved in human rights violations, but the banks do not show on what grounds these companies are being researched and whether it leads to exclusion of these companies.

In 2012 ING promised to implement policies to combat ship-breaking under poor working conditions, but this still has not been published. Aegon, ABN Amro and ING have not set any clear standards for meat processing companies with respect to animal welfare.

These issues aside, the Fair Bank Guide also found that Dutch banks have taken some concrete steps to improve the sustainability of their investments. Rabobank no longer invests in controversial arms companies that were included in the Guide's 2013 field research on weapons. Aegon stopped investing in two controversial mining companies. ABN Amro, SNS Reaal and Delta Lloyd have set high demands on companies to prevent land grabbing. And Rabobank and ABN Amro have implemented strong measures to prevent labor rights violations in the dismantling of ships.

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