ABP, the biggest pension fund of The Netherlands, will exclude Indian company Walchandnagar Industries from its investment universe because of the company’s involvement in the production of Indian nuclear weapons.
The announcement by ABP came after PAX reported in November 2014 that some of ABP’s investments in Indian companies contradicted its own socially responsible investment policies, specifically those which exclude companies associated with the nuclear weapons programmes of non-NPT nuclear armed countries India, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan.
Citing the same policy, ABP excluded Indian company Larsen & Toubro earlier this year. In this statement, ABP also announced the exclusion of South Korean company S&T Dynamics for involvement in the production of anti-personnel landmines.
ABP has the largest investments in nuclear weapons producing companies of any financial institution in The Netherlands, with more than USD1 billion invested. This dubious honour has drawn a lot of media attention in recent months.
It is a good decision by ABP to better implement its policy. It would be better if ABP would apply the same policy to companies that are associated with the nuclear weapons programmes of China, France, Russia, the UK and the US, the five countries with more than 98% of all nuclear weapons and a treaty obligation to disarm.
A comprehensive exclusion of all companies involved in the production of nuclear weapons would be supported by 2/3rd of ABP’s clients, a November 2014 survey by Dutch prime time news program EenVandaag demonstrated (again).
Several Dutch pension funds, such as PNO Media and Philips Pension Fund have policies excluding all companies involved in the production of nuclear weapons. In the Netherlands, employees cannot freely chose a pension fund – it depends on your job. Therefore, PAX believes ABP has an added responsibility to make sure that the savings of their participants do not end up financing nuclear weapons producers against their wishes. Client demand incited ABP to decide a few years ago to end all involvement in producers of cluster munitions.
Summarising: PAX commends ABP for carefully applying its exclusion policy. For its participants to feel secure that their money does not end up financing the bomb, it needs to apply its existing policy to the all companies producing nuclear weapons.