The Dutch peace organization PAX reports that 9 out of the 10 largest Dutch pension funds invest more than €1 billion in 14 weapons manufacturers. PAX cites findings from a study by the Fair Pension Guide, claiming that the weapons manufacturing companies “‘supply weapon systems to countries that violate human rights.”
PAX’s Cor Oudes says that “Some or most of Dutch people’s retirement money is invested in arms companies that, for instance, keep Saudi Arabia’s jet fighters in the air…These planes drop bombs that kill and maim civilians in Yemen.”
The study examined the largest companies supplying weapons to around fifty countries “either currently involved in an armed conflict or which violate human rights.” PAX claims that European companies continue to supply weapons to countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, India, Pakistan and Chad which is “at odds with an EU directive that a country should not supply weapons if there is a risk that they will be used in war or to commit human rights violations.”
PAX writes that three of the pension funds – ABP, PFZW, and PME – invest the most in the weapons companies, together accounting for €927 million. United Technologies Corporation and General Electric – the two weapons manufacturing companies which receive the most investment from Dutch pension funds – are reportedly “two of the largest arms manufacturers in the world and provide and maintain aircraft engines to the air forces of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.”
Only one of the pension funds – PMT, which is involved with the metal sector – does not invest in weapons manufacturing companies.
PAX and The Fair Pension Guide support the quick development of arms trading policy as there are virtually none for pension funds. The peace organization writes that having no trading policy in regards to weapon manufacturing means that pension funds “run a high risk of investing in the wrong companies.”
This year the Netherlands retained its first-place position with a coveted ‘A-grade’ rating from the Eleventh annual Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index, a scoring system that compares 37 retirement systems covering nearly two-thirds of the world population.