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ING Disinvests from Controversial Weapons PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Monday, 04 April 2005 10:28

The bank that keeps telling you to "save your money" is now promising that the money you save with them won't be invested in companies that produce anti-personnel mines, cluster bombs, or weapons of mass destruction.

ING Disinvests (Partly) from Controversial Weapons

ING, the largest private financial institution in the Benelux countries, and the 11th largest in the world, has decided to no longer invest in companies producing controversial weapons. The types of weapons excluded by ING are: anti-personnel mines, cluster bombs, depleted uranium weapons, biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. Netwerk Vlaanderen, Forum voor Vredesactie, For Mother Earth and Vrede have been campaigning since 2003 for an end to investments of Belgian banks in the arms trade. Their campaign "My Money. Clear Conscience?" has put pressure on ING to make this important step in the direction of a peaceful investment policy.

ING has decided to implement strict criteria for defense-oriented companies involved in the production, maintenance, or sale of these controversial weapons. ING will no longer finance these companies, and will no longer make its own direct investments in these companies. Indirect investments are still permitted. For example, investors will still be able to purchase investment funds from ING, including shares from these companies.

A report published in early 2004 revealed that AXA, DEXIA, Fortis, ING and KBC all invested in producers of controversial weapons, including some of the largest arms companies in the world. Companies that Netwerk Vlaanderen believes that ING should disinvest from include ATK, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Singapore Technologies Engineering and General Dynamics. ATK is the most important ammunition supplier for the US army, and is involved in the production of uranium weapons and cluster bombs. Lockheed Martin is the largest arms producer in the world, and produces nuclear weapons and cluster bombs, amongst other weapon systems. This new policy should lead to ING abandoning direct links with some of the largest arms companies in the world.

After KBC, which last year withdrew from a number of controversial weapon systems, ING is the second bank group to take a clear stand on this issue. There are still some important omissions in the policy of ING, such as that it is not valid for indirect investments made by ING. This means that producers of controversial weapons will not be removed from the investment funds that ING offers to its customers. For the customer that invests in ING funds, nothing has changed. Their money can still be invested in producers of these highly controversial weapon systems.

The new policy is clearly a step forward in the development of a peaceful investment policy. ING must now work on making this policy solid, strict and transparent.

Source: Netwerk Vlaanderen Press Release, 28 March 2005. For more information on the ?My Money. Clear Conscience?? campaign, please visit http://www.netwerk-vlaanderen.be

Last Updated on Monday, 04 April 2005 10:28

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