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Report: pension funds invest in nuclear arms business

A report on Finnish arms exports claims Finnish trade unions, pension insurance companies, banks and the church have made direct or indirect investments into companies manufacturing or financing nuclear arms.

The report published by SaferGlobe Finland specifically names, for example, the Ilmarinen insurance company,  Nordea Bank and the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

”We reported this two years ago and to our surprise nothing has happened since,” says Researcher Jarmo Pykälä from SaferGlobe Finland.

The report claims pension insurer Ilmarinen has invested pension funds directly into three firms producing nuclear weapons. One of these firms is Europe’s second largest arms manufacturer EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company) which is also responsible for the French nuclear arms programme.  EADS maintains a holding company with the Finnish state that owns almost 27 percent of Finland’s arms firm Patria.

In the absence of a treaty outlawing such weapons, Ilmarinen sees no need to change its policy.

“International treaties and legislation remain unclear thus allowing firms to operate within the nuclear arms sector. Clarity in this respect would aid investors to better determine what is permitted and what is not,” says Ilmarinen’s Director of Investments, Anna Hyrske.

Investments by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the nuclear business are indirect in nature. The church adheres to ethical investment norms dating back to 1999 and to responsible investment rules drawn up in 2007.

“It is not right that pension funds are invested in nuclear arms. Our aim is that no such investments should be contained in any of the church’s investment portfolios. For this reason, we are continuously on the lookout for investment possibilities that take this position of responsibility into account,” says Investment Expert Magdalena Lönnröth of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

On the political front, MEP Tarja Cronberg, also a member of the EU Defence Committee, wants Finnish investors to show responsibility.  

”It is absolutely essential that pension funds and trade unions abide by ethical criteria in determining their investments,” says Cronberg.

In response, investing organisations defend their investments by reiterating that there is no treaty that prohibits nuclear weapons.

Sources: Yle

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