04 June 2020, The Tablet

Religious lead the way on nuclear divestment

Religious lead the way on nuclear divestment

Activist seen performing a 'die-in' during an anti-nuclear protest in London last year.
SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images

Religious Communities in England and Wales have said they will consider divesting from companies that produce nuclear weapons, after a report by the Nuclear Weapons Financing Research Group last week found that a number of UK banks and pension funds have financial links to companies that produce them.

Sister Susan Francois CSJP, whose Congregation has been fully divested from nuclear weapons and weapons manufacturers since the 1980s, told The Tablet: “We may not be invested in the manufacturers, but what are our links to other organisations that are financing them? We are looking at our options because obviously we don't want to be having our investments supporting war and death and the manufacturing of weapons. We are working with the coalitions that we are connected with to see what the most effective ways might be.”

Sister Susan called on other congregations, charities and organisations to work together on ethical investment. “We are probably one of the first congregations that is looking at doing this. It will be more effective if it's done in a coalition and a movement. So I would encourage in the UK and as well in the US to try to build those coalitions or to tap into coalitions that already exist because the more that we can do it collaboratively the more impactful.”

Fr Martin Newell, a Passionist priest, said that the Province invests and banks with ethical organisations. Having read the report, which was circulated in this country by Pax Christi, he added: "I don't know what types of activities, and therefore investments, are regarded as materially contributing to the nuclear weapons supply chain. I would definitely be interested in finding out, and passing that information on to our investment managers, and I think we as a Province would be more than happy to ask for those to be excluded, if they aren't already."




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