Lessons & Examples

Lessons from other campaigners

Experiences of ICAN and Cluster Munition Coalition campaigners, offer some helpful lessons:

Collaborate with other NGOs also those who may not be in your traditional network. This is effective and efficient as each NGO brings complementary competencies to the campaign. It also strengthens your call for action when you show that you are representing a broad coalition.

Seek out dialogue and take advantage of opportunities to engage, including private discussions with the financial institutions. It can be helpful to have these conversations before launching a public campaign. The threat of the launch of a public campaign when private discussions do not lead to the expected results can be helpful in shifting policies.

Give a clear schedule with deadlines for financial institutions to deliver results. Consider using the upcoming 70th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Japan (August 2015) as a hook.

Build up a good level of technical knowledge of the internal workings and technical dimensions of banks, pension funds and insurance companies. This allows for a constructive dialogue on an equal footing. Campaigners don’t need to know every detail, but if a financial institution says that it cannot divest, remember that the burden of proof is on them to show why not (especially as others already have!) It’s okay not to know all the details, and it’s a great reason to partner with a financial watchdog organisation in your country who might have more expertise and bring them into the campaign.

Maintain a clear focus on your specific aim to stop financing nuclear weapon producers. Try not to mix your core message with broader complaints about or attacks on financial institutions. This will be appreciated by the financial institution you want to talk with and may help to achieve better results for your campaign.

Stay true to your principles. Financial institutions have to adopt an explicit policy of no investment in / no financing of nuclear weapon manufacturers. When you’re speaking with them, combine your principled demand with a reasonable degree of flexibility and a realistic approach on the actual implementation of adopted policy. Implementing a policy takes time and financial institutions will appreciate your pragmatic approach.

Be thorough by making sure that 1) the policy adopted by banks and insurance companies covers proprietary as well as third party investment and, more generally, any form of financing, 2) that it becomes a public policy, among other things by being published on the institution’s web site and 3) that it ends up being reflected in the institution’s internal rules or codes of conduct and therefore can be controlled by the internal auditors.

Display public documents by sending copies to be posted on www.dontbankonthebomb.com to increase transparency on the exchanges between NGOs and companies, as well as to raise awareness among the Corporate Social Responsibility community.

Be Creative!

Swiss initiatives to ban investments in nuclear weapons

by Dominique Jaussi, co-founder Business & Human Rights Conform (BHRC) Does Switzerland possess weapons of mass destruction? Obviously we don’t….

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Cambridge will divest from nuclear weapon producers!

The City Council of Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA) has  voted unanimously to divest their $1Bn pension fund from nuclear weapons producing companies. Read more

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Responsible Investment Made Easy

Check out this great new video and tool from friends at the Future of Life Institute, and see how Americans can make safe and sane responsible investment…

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Briefing paper: Banning investment

In May, diplomats in Geneva will resume discussions on how to create and maintain a nuclear weapons free world.  It is important for those discussions to include a range of options and activities that can be undertaken now- even by countries that don’t have nuclear weapons. Read more

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Don’t Bank on the Bomb 2015 Launch week overview

Time to reflect. On November 12, we launched the 2015 update of the Don’t Bank on the Bomb report. Thanks to campaigners in a lot of different places,…

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German campaigners protest on World Savings Day

On World Savings Day, ICAN Germany organised a National Day of Action to protest against the involvement of German banks in the financing of nuclear weapons.

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Scotland Campaign Launch 16 November

  Companies that manufacture nuclear weapons, like Lockheed Martin and…

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ICAN UK campaigners blockade London Arms Fair

Colleagues at ICAN UK promoted the report and joined hundreds of protesters from Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) and other groups Read more

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Getting Marseille to stop banking on the bomb

In August, ICAN France participated to the Summer University of ATTAC (Association for the Taxation of financial Transactions and Aid to Citizens) in Marseille, France. Open to all, and hosting about 1.000 activists, this year the annual congress focused its conferences, workshops and other activities (theatre, movie, trainings, etc) on « Climate, debt and austerity ». Read more

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