More than 300 banks, insurance companies and other institutions are helping to finance nuclear weapons around the world, according to a new report from an activist campaign that aims to prod banks to divest from the makers of such weapons.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is pushing the banks and other financial institutions to stop financing companies that design, manufacture or maintain nuclear weapons, their parts or the missiles, submarines or bombers to deliver them.
More than half of the companies singled out by the group are based in the United States, including Citi, J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America. The banks did not respond to requests for comment on the report.
By lending money to weapons companies and buying their shares and bonds, banks and other companies "are indirectly facilitating the buildup and modernization of nuclear forces," the report said.
"Banks and other financial institutions should be called upon to do the right thing … by divesting from the immoral nuclear arms industry," retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote in a foreword to the report. He argued that divestment was crucial to ending the racist system of apartheid in South Africa.
— Emily Alpert in Los Angeles
Photo: The Chase logo as seen at the base of one of the bank's buildings in New York City in October 2011. Credit: Kathy Willens / Associated Press