US Funds Invest in Nuclear & Cluster Bombs

Some of the largest corporate retirement funds are among the most heavily invested in weapons banned under international law, finds a corporate accountability watchdog. 

April 2012: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons action against investments in nuclear weapons, Melbourne, Australia. (Tim Wright, ICAN, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

By Brett Wilkins
Common Dreams

Amidst what the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists calls “an exceedingly dangerous nuclear situation” facing humanity today, the largest U.S. mutual funds — which manage the retirement and other savings of tens of millions of Americans — are profiting from investments in nuclear weapons, cluster munitions and other banned or controversial arms, an analysis by a leading shareholder advocacy group has revealed.

Measured by dollars invested, the top 25 U.S. asset managers “all earn a D grade or worse, with significant investments in arms manufacturers and major military contractors, including companies involved with nuclear weapons and controversial weapons like cluster munitions, anti-personnel landmines, incendiary weapons, and depleted uranium,” Berkeley, California-based As You Sow said in its new report.

[Related: In Ukraine, US Adds to Barbaric Cluster-Bomb Legacy]

Some of the largest corporate 401(k)s like American Funds, John Hancock Funds and Franklin Templeton Investments were among the most heavily invested in these armaments, while “fund managers that focus on sustainable investing have less exposure to military weapons, on average.”

Seven funds profiled in the analysis — Eventide Funds, Ecofin, New Alternatives, Vert Asset Management, Aspiration Funds, Thrivent, and Kayne Anderson — held no investments in the controversial weapons.

“Many investors, given a choice, would not want to profit from companies that manufacture weapons of mass destruction,” As You Sow CEO Andrew Behar said in a statement.

“Yet nearly every retirement plan has nuclear and other controversial weapons embedded in their plan. Our new ratings empower investors with the tools to know what they own so they can invest their money in alignment with their values.”

As You Sow’s mutual fund ratings are part of the group’s Weapons Free Funds investment tool, “built to help responsible investors prioritize peace and people over war and violence.”

Nuclear weaponslandmines and cluster munitions are all banned under international law. However, the United States is not a signatory to any of the bans, and none of the world’s nine nuclear powers have signed the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Common Dreams reported last month that nuclear-armed nations spent $82.9 billion on their arsenals last year, with the United States accounting for more than half of the global total, according to the Nobel Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. House of a Representatives, a bipartisan amendment to the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act that would have banned the export of cluster munitions was blocked last week. This came as the Biden administration was giving final approval to transfer cluster bombs to Ukraine’s military — which, like its Russian enemyhas used the weapons during the ongoing war with devastating effects.

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

4 comments for “US Funds Invest in Nuclear & Cluster Bombs

  1. Vera Gottlieb
    July 21, 2023 at 11:21

    And the profits are… death and more death.

  2. Rudy Haugeneder
    July 19, 2023 at 15:03

    Capitalism at work!

    • Vera Gottlieb
      July 21, 2023 at 11:20

      What I call KILLER KAPITALISM…

  3. firstpersoninfinite
    July 18, 2023 at 23:37

    Well, why not? Why not invest in destruction as a means to the creation of wealth? What do we care, as long as we’re not required to pay any price for having done so? The powers that be are exercising a macro/micro strategy to deter recognition of their means to a proscribed end until it becomes the only reality. Like moles at the end of a tunnel, they plan to dig us into meaninglessness until darkness becomes light, recognition a crime, and alternative choices a national threat.

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