News Release - FAO Newsdesks
'Dirty Dozen' local authorities hold huge investments in arms company
LONDON: Campaign Against Arms Trade is publishing its annual survey of organisations with investments in arms companies, today Wednesday 30 March 2005 . CAAT surveyed 99 local authority pension funds in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as part of its Clean Investment Campaign 2005. Twelve local authority pension funds, dubbed 'The Dirty Dozen', each have 1 million shares or more in BAE Systems, Europe's largest arms manufacturer. The Dirty Dozen includes: West Yorkshire, West Midlands, Strathclyde, Lancashire, South Yorkshire, Kent, Derbyshire, East Riding (Yorkshire), Hampshire, Teeside, Essex and the London Borough of Southwark . CAAT is calling for all local authorities to adopt ethical investment criteria and to not invest in arms exporting companies.
CAAT's survey revealed that at least 6 local authority pension funds hold no shares in the six arms companies identified. Furthermore there are at least another 27 local authority pension funds that have no BAE Systems investments at all. CAAT is targeting UK based BAE Systems as it is this country's largest arms exporting company, selling indiscriminately and undermining peace and security. Ethical reasons aside, investment in BAE Systems is financially risky. It is dependent on government subsidies; if these end, then so will shareholders' profits (CAAT estimates that government subsidy for arms exports are worth about £890 million each year). Furthermore, there are ongoing corruption allegations and investigations, including by the Serious Fraud Office of BAE Systems - one debt rating service put BAE Systems on a 'negative ratings watch' following the company's announcement of this investigation last year.
Ian Prichard, CAAT Research Co-ordinator said
"Local authority pension funds are being invested in arms companies which export to countries in conflict zones or regimes with unacceptable human rights records. Public money is invested in these pension funds often without the knowledge or agreement of contributors or people living in the local authority. It's about time public money was invested for the public good and that means excluding arms exporters such as BAE Systems."
For more information please contact: CAAT Press Office on 020 7281 0297