Early this year, Belgian asset manager Degroof Petercam Asset Management (DPAM: the Asset Management division of the Degroof Petercam group) adopted a policy excluding nuclear weapons producers from its investments. The policy so far only applies to DPAM and not to the rest of the Degroof Petercam group. It is nevertheless a really positive step to take for DPAM, which holds €34.1 billion in assets under management.
In its policy on “controversial activities”, DPAM states it has decided to formally exclude nuclear weapon producers from its investment universe because of the humanitarian harm nuclear weapons cause:
“the fact that the financing of nuclear weapons is not prohibited by law does not mean that Degroof-Petercam Asset Management, as an investor, should not question whether such investments are ethically sensitive. To the contrary, nuclear weapons have by design indiscriminate and disproportionate effect on populations (notably through the effects of radiations and radioactive pollution which subsists and causes harm long after the blast).”
DPAM systematically excludes companies when more than 10% of their turnover is derived from nuclear weapons-related activities. Companies with less than 10% turnover related to nuclear weapons activities are excluded from sustainable strategies. The policy applies to the vast majority of DPAM’s asset management activities, in theory an exception could be made in case a client invested in a discretionary mandate would specifically require to diverge from DPAM’s controversial activities policy. Yet, in practice such an exception has not yet occurred according to DPAM, meaning that the policy is applied to nearly all DPAM’s investment funds and mandates.
Since the banking group is responsible for and directly or indirectly supervises its subsidiaries, Don’t Bank on the Bomb only lists policies that apply across an entire group. This is not yet the case for the Degroof Petercam group. However, DPAM is sharing its exclusion policy with other entities of the group.
Financial research by Don’t Bank on the Bomb earlier this year found that DPAM and other entities of the Degroof Petercam group still had below the threshold holdings in several nuclear weapon producers, including in BAE Systems (UK), Boeing (US), Larsen & Toubro (India) and Safran (France).
We welcome DPAM’s policy. We encourage DPAM to continue improving its policy as well as sharing the policy to invite the wider Degroof Petercam group to exclude nuclear weapon producers. We hope to be able to list the Degroof Petercam group in the Hall of Fame of a future update Don’t Bank on the Bomb.