One financial institution currently invests an estimated USD$ 72.50 million in nuclear weapons companies. Two financial institutions have policies on investment in nuclear weapons producing companies. 2 financial institutions have policies related to nuclear weapons and are in the Runners-up category.
KBC Bank (Belgium)
KBC currently has an estimated USD 72.5 million invested or available for the nuclear weapon producers identified in this report.
In March 2012, Serco secured a £ 730 million (USD 1,159.39 million) revolving credit facility due March 2017. The proceeds were used for refinancing the company’s existing USD 500 million and £ 400 million credit facilities and certain other bilateral facilities, and for general corporate purposes. KBC Bank was part of the syndicate of 16 banks, participating with an estimated amount of USD 72.5 million.[i]
Belfius Bank (Private)
Belfius Bank is an autonomous Belgian banking and insurance group wholly owned by the Belgian federal state through the Federal Holding and Investment Company (FHIC).[i] It was split-off from the French Dexia group at the end of 2011. Belfius Bank bars companies of which the key product is related to the defence industry, e.g. that have known involvement in the sale, manufacture, use or possession of cluster munitions, anti-personnel mines, biological weapons, chemical weapons, cluster weapons and nuclear weapons from all its insurance activities.[ii]
Despite having no investments in any of the producers identified in this report, Belfius Bank is not included in the Hall of Fame. The reason is that Belfius’ policy is formulated in a broad way that raises doubts about the scope of the policy. It is unclear for example whether Belfius Bank’s policy includes all activities of nuclear weapons producing companies, or whether the policy is implemented throughout all of Belfius’ financial products. Because Belfius Bank has not responded to our attempts to clarify questions we have about the scope of its policy we include them in our Runners-up and not in the Hall of Fame. We hope to be able to assess Belfius’ policy more thoroughly in the next update of this report. We commend Belfius for their policy and encourage them to further strengthen the policy so they may be listed in the Hall of Fame in our next report.
KBC is an integrated bank assurance group, catering mainly for retail, SME and midcap customers.[iii] It concentrates on its home markets of Belgium, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Bulgaria. Around the globe, the group has established a presence in selected countries and regions.[iv] KBC Group claims to have “the most far-reaching policy on controversial weapons in the world”. The policy on investment in the weapons industry dates from 2004. In this policy KBC states that it refuses to invest in any company involved in developing, manufacturing or trading in controversial weapons systems or their essential components. Weapons are considered controversial when there is broad public support for banning them, but the policy does not refer specifically to nuclear weapons. Biological weapons, anti-personnel mines, cluster bombs and munitions and weapons containing depleted uranium are specifically mentioned in this policy.[v] However, in its asset management policy KBC does specifically mention nuclear weapons, i.e. companies involved in strategic or nuclear weapons are excluded from investment.[vi] The policy covers all KBC’s activities including commercial banking, asset management and investment banking, but exceptions may be made to certain index-linked investment funds for institutional investors as for some existing loans. [vii] KBC published a blacklist with 58 weapon producers. The list is based on in-house and external research from Ethix SRI Advisors and is available on their website.[viii]
While the KBC policy is relatively comprehensive in terms of types of nuclear weapons companies and activities of those companies, the policy fails to make the Hall of Fame due to the exceptions for some financial products. Also, as can be read in the Hall of Shame, KBC gave out a loan to Serco, which is listed as a nuclear weapon producer in this report. We commend KBC for their policy and encourage them to further strengthen the policy so they may be listed in the Hall of Fame in our next report.
[i] Belfius, “Company profile” available at https://www.belfius.be/financial/NL/Profile/index.aspx, last viewed July 2013. [ii] Belfius, “Duurzaamheid bij Belfius Verzekeringen”, available at http://www.belfius-verzekeringen.be/dossier-en-achtergrondinformatie/duurzaamheid/portfolio21.aspx#.Ue-WP20XH1I, last viewed July 2013. [iii] KBC, “Group Profile”, KBC website (https://www.kbc.com/MISC/D9e01/~E/~KBCCOM/~BZIZTPX/-BZIZTPN/~-BZJ07U3), viewed 16 April 2012. [iv] Clarified in an email from Geert Heuninck, KBC Group CSR Department, received 27 August 2013. [v] “KBC has the Most Far-Reaching Policy on Controversial Weapons in the World”, version 28-09-2007, available at https://multimediafiles.kbcgroup.eu/ng/published/PDF/KBCCOM/CSR/COM_MAR_wapenbeleid_E_0900dfde8014d839.pdf, last viewed 16 April 2012. [vi] KBC Asset Management, “Exclusion criteria & socially questionable practices and technologies”, available at https://www.kbcam.be/site?target=~/sri/weapons#weapons, last viewed July 2013. [vii] “KBC has the Most Far-Reaching Policy on Controversial Weapons in the World”, version 28-09-2007, available at https://multimediafiles.kbcgroup.eu/ng/published/PDF/KBCCOM/CSR/COM_MAR_wapenbeleid_E_0900dfde8014d839.pdf, last viewed 16 April 2012. [viii] KBC Asset Management, “Policy on Controversial Weapons”, KBC Asset Management website (https://www.kbcam.be/IPA/D9e01/~E/~KBCAM/~BZKXCTT/-BZL3T9B/BZL1W9X/BZL1WKJ/BZL4QB5/~-BZL7P9X#weapons), last viewed July 2013. [i] Thomson ONE Banker, “Tearsheet 2822928116”, Thomson ONE Banker (www.thomsonone.com), 28 March 2012.