More and more banks are becoming reluctant towards new investments in nuclear weapons. The war in Ukraine has made the nuclear threat more relevant again, according to a new report by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and the peace organization PAX.

Globally, more than a hundred banks, pension funds, and other financial institutions have limited or completely halted their financial involvement in the nuclear weapons industry.

After more than a year of war in Ukraine, the threat of nuclear weapons being used is once again more pronounced, and “any use of nuclear weapons would be catastrophic,” say the authors of the report “Don’t Bank on the Bomb.” “Yet, the condemnation of Russia’s nuclear threats by many states also sounds hollow because they fail to recognize their own role in creating the current level of nuclear risk.”

According to ICAN and PAX, there is another positive trend emerging: more banks are embracing the role they can play in discouraging nuclear weapons.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in 2021 has certainly contributed to this, according to the organizations. “Many of the financial institutions refer to the TPNW in their policies. They are based in Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom and are taking the lead, sometimes even before their governments have joined the treaty.”

“The growing number of financial institutions mentioned in the report is a positive development,” says lead author Alejandra Muñoz. “Strong engagement from the financial sector is a resilient mechanism to reduce the legitimacy of nuclear weapons and create support for their ultimate elimination.”

In total, 109 financial institutions have limited or completely stopped their involvement in the nuclear weapons industry. Among the eleven newcomers this year are Caixabank (Spain), Change Finance (USA), Ethius Invest (Switzerland), and Svenska Handelsbanken (Sweden).

Belgian bank VDK is moving from the category of “Runners Up” (these banks have taken steps to reduce investments in nuclear weapons) to the “Hall of Fame” (they no longer accept investments from the nuclear weapons industry).

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