Finnish companies and church investing pensions in nuclear arms

Finnish insurance companies, trade unions, banks and even the church have invested in companies financing or manufacturing nuclear arms, according to a report. The Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nordea Bank and Ilmarinen Insurance are all named and shamed in the research by SaferGlobe Finland.

”We reported this two years ago and to our surprise nothing has happened since,” researcher Jarmo Pykälä told YLE.

Ilmarinen has directly invested pension funds into a number of companies that produce nuclear weapons, including the European Aeronautic Defence and Space company (EADS), the provider of France’s nuclear programme and the second-largest arms manufacturer in Europe.

EADS also owns 27 per cent of Finland’s arms firm and has a holding company in the country.  However, Ilmarinen says it has no plans to change its investment policy unless a law is passed preventing such action.

“International treaties and legislation remain unclear, thus allowing firms to operate within the nuclear arms sector. Clarity in this respect would aid investors to better determine what is permitted and what is not,” Ilmarinen’s director of investments Anna Hyrske said.

Although Finland’s Evangelical Lutheran Church adheres to responsible investment rules and norms, it has also indirectly invested in nuclear businesses.

“It is not right that pension funds are invested in nuclear arms. Our aim is that no such investments should be contained in any of the church’s investment portfolios. For this reason, we are continuously on the lookout for investment possibilities that take this position of responsibility into account,” said Investment Expert Magdalena Lönnröth of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

MEP Tarja Cronberg has called on Finnish investors to act responsibly.  ”It is absolutely essential that pension funds and trade unions abide by ethical criteria in determining their investments,” Cronberg told YLE.