Today, US campaigner Vicki Elson participated in the Honeywell International Shareholder meeting. Honeywell is deeply involved in the US nuclear arsenal.
At the shareholders meeting, Vicky called for Honeywell to change its business model and seek contracts that support a green future, not the production of nuclear weapons. You can read her full speech below.
Honeywell and nuclear weapons
Honeywell manages and operates the National Security Campus (formerly Kansas City Plant), which produces about 85% of the non-nuclear components for US nuclear weapons including electronic, mechanical and hardware components. Honeywell is also involved in managing other US nuclear weapon facilities including Savannah River, the National Nuclear Security Site (former test site), and the Sandia Lab. The work at Sandia includes the systems integration work connecting nuclear weapons to their delivery vehicles. Honeywell is also involved in producing key components for the Trident II (D5) nuclear missiles which comprise part of the UK and US arsenals. More details can be found here.
My name is Vicki Elson.
As a shareholder, I’m concerned that Honeywell is still involved in nuclear weapons facilities, and still producing key components for the Minuteman III ICBM and the Trident II system. Nuclear weapons are becoming increasingly illegal worldwide and will soon be obsolete.
The 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has already been adopted by 122 countries, signed by 70, and ratified by 23. It’s going to make business as usual more and more difficult, and there will be legislative risks for Honeywell in the ratifying countries.
In any case, this is a product whose time is up. General Colin Powell believes that they’re militarily useless as well as unthinkably dangerous. Deutsche Bank and other large financial institutions, including the two largest pension funds in the world, already prohibit investments in the nuclear weapons industry. The state of California – the fifth largest economy in the world — has already passed legislation supporting the nuclear ban treaty.
Honeywell and other nuclear weapons companies are already being stigmatized as merchants of mass slaughter, and it’s not an exaggeration:
Even an accidental detonation of just one nuclear bomb could kill millions of civilians, overwhelm the response capacity of the entire global Red Cross/Red Crescent, and overfill every burn bed in every hospital on the planet. A limited nuclear war could trigger a climate catastrophe and starve billions of people. A large nuclear war could end civilization and even life on earth.
The good news is that there’s a tremendous need for green technologies that address climate change. Honeywell should be pressuring the federal government – not to keep paying for useless and illegal nuclear weapons, but to help convert skilled scientists, technicians, facilities and infrastructure toward the highly profitable green industry. (This new report, called Warheads to Windmills, coming out next week, shows exactly how it can be done.)
It’s a shame that Honeywell has just sold off the division that made those great thermostats, but there are many other opportunities to enjoy the economic and public relations benefits of converting from suicidal weapons of mass extinction to products that we will need to survive as a species. As an investor, I want to see Honeywell in the vanguard of this transformation to more sustainable products, and a more sustainable future for us all. Can we expect changes in this direction, or should I sell my Honeywell stock?