As far as existential threats to humanity go, it’s hard to ignore nuclear weapons. What you might not realise is that a potential nuclear war is being funded by your super savings.

Cold Comfort

As the grip of the Cold War relaxed its hold on the public imagination, so too did the perceived threat from nuclear weapons.

The election of Donald Trump to the US presidency has revived widespread fear that, once again, we are “one impulsive tantrum” away from nuclear catastrophe.

 

The high-stakes stoush between the outrageous leaders of the USA and North Korea obscures a deeper problem. 

The world isn’t teetering on the edge of nuclear holocaust just because of narcissistic dictators. 

A web of politics and finance connects us all to this most urgent issue, the untangling of which has resulted in this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

A Nobel Cause

Last month in Oslo, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

Dave Sweeney (ACF), Kokatha elder Sue Coleman-Haseldine and ICAN Australia board member Daisy Gardener in Oslo with the Nobel medal and diploma. Photo by Kristian Laemmle-Ruff

This Australian-founded organisation is the spearhead of a global anti-nuclear campaign that has, after a decade of advocacy, resulted in the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

An overwhelming majority of countries have already adopted the treaty. 122, in fact. Disappointingly, Australia is not one of them. Instead, Prime Minister Turnbull has spoken volumes though his silence, drawing criticism for failing to congratulate Australian-born ICAN for winning the prestigious award.

Source: ICAN

ICAN’s victory is awkward for the government because Australia’s position is pro-nuclear armaments. Australian security policy still relies heavily on America, which explicitly includes their nuclear program. As stated in Chapter 6 of the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper: "the Government recognises that only the nuclear and conventional military capabilities of the United States offer effective deterrence against the possibility of nuclear threats against Australia."

However, the Australian government has been doing more than quietly supporting the US. 

Our government has been trying to block the ban, ignoring the fact that bans have worked better than non-proliferation treaties at halting the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

But it’s not just politics that’s to blame. The finance industry has played a crucial role in making nuclear weapons an ongoing threat to peace.

Don’t Bank On The Bomb

In addition to their work on the UN treaty, ICAN teamed up with PAX to publish annual reports called Don’t Bank On The Bomb. These reports reveal how banks and super funds use our savings to keep nuclear weapon production pumping.

Top 10 nuclear weapons funders. Source: https://www.dontbankonthebomb.com/who-invests/

Companies design and manufacture nuclear weapons, then sell them to pro-nuclear governments. Then there are contracts to maintain the weapons, to install them on military aircraft and vehicles, and to do research and development on new weapon technology. The companies doing this work secure debt or equity finance from the banks we use everyday. But that’s not the only way ordinary people like you and me are connected.

Through superannuation most Australians invest either directly or indirectly in nuclear weapons producers, or in the banks that prop them up. This is a shocking revelation, and rightly so.

As stated in the most recent Don’t Bank On The Bomb report:

“Investments are not neutral. Financing and investing are active choices, based on a clear assessment of a company and its plans. Any financial service delivered to a company by a financial institution demonstrates tacit approval of their activities.”

Most Australians do not want to experience a nuclear holocaust. However, our investments say otherwise.

Thanks to ICAN’s research and lobbying, more people than ever are now aware of the troubling reality - millions of us are actively investing in nuclear weapons. But what can we do about it?

Divest from Nuclear Weapons

Most Australians would find it absurd that the people managing their super think nuclear weapon manufacturing is an appropriate investment. But that’s because few realise super fund managers start from a position of ‘anything goes’. They explicitly ignore social, environmental and ethical issues when making investment decisions, as if financial markets and real world impacts do not interact.

‍Source: http://masspeaceaction.org/

Future Super is Australia's first 100% fossil fuel free super fund. As an ethical super fund, Future Super also excludes all companies involved in the nuclear or uranium industries. Our investments process puts companies through a rigorous ethical criteria that removes those seeking to profit from harm, whether that be nuclear weapons, fossil fuels or animal cruelty.

As well as explicitly avoiding nuclear weapon manufacturers, Future Super avoids all companies that manufacture any type of armament as well as companies who earn significant revenues from servicing the armament or military industry. Future Super is also one of the few super funds that explicitly rules out investment in uranium mining and nuclear energy.

If you don’t want to bank on the bomb, take control of your super and secure a better future.

Lobby your current fund or switch to Future Super today.

ICAN representatives celebrate outside the Nobel Centre in Oslo. Photo by Kristian Laemmle-Ruff