Today, International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, campaigners in Edinburgh joined people all over the world to draw attention to a large international bank that invests hugely in the production of nuclear weapons.
BNP Paribas is a French international banking group. It is the world’s 8th largest bank by total assets, and currently operates with a presence in 77 countries, including Scotland. Though BNP Paribas has a policy restricting investment in companies associated with the production of nuclear weapons, it has provided US$8 billion in financing to 16 nuclear weapons producing companies in just over 4 years.
Today a group of campaigners representing Scottish organisations which are partners with the Nobel Prize winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), went this morning to the Edinburgh address given on the company’s website to engage staff in conversation about the problem, only to find an empty suite of rooms and a scar where a plaque had been.
“Eight of the nuclear weapons companies financed by BNP Paribas produce key components for Britain’s nuclear weapons programme so it’s important that people in Scotland who oppose Trident target the bank today. The action is part of a growing global nuclear weapons divestment movement. Everyone in Scotland can play a role by contacting their bank and pension fund and encouraging them to adopt policies that prohibit nuclear weapons investments. If we can persuade enough financial institutions to divest, we can force companies to stop producing weapons which are indiscriminate, immoral and illegal.”
Janet Fenton, ICAN’s Scottish liaison, said:
“Today ICAN is focussing on BNP Paribas everywhere. Global financial institutions are learning that the new UN Treat on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) 1 makes divestment from nuclear weapons the safest financial option, and following an inspiring international rally at Faslane on Saturday, it’s clear that Scots have plenty of support in their abhorrence of these uncontrollable, insane and indiscriminate status symbols whether they are delivered by May, Trump, Putin or anyone else. Responsible financial institutions can find safer and more profitable choices.”