Celebrating Feminists’ Voices, Inspiring Global Peace

How Many of Us Unwittingly Finance Nuclear Weapons?

10 October 2013
Photo of Susi Snyder taking.
Susi Snyder at the launch of the report. Credit: Xanthe Hall/ICAN

A report released today by IKV Pax Christi and ICAN reveals that several European banks invest in the build-up of the nuclear weapons industry.

The report “Don’t bank on the bomb” shows that since the beginning of 2012, financial institutions have been investing more than 300 billion USD in the nuclear industry.

The report shows that 298 private and public financial institutions from around the world invest almost 314 billion USD into 27 companies involved in the production, maintenance and modernization of nuclear weapons. The report’s  “Hall of Shame” highlights the most heavily invested ones. These include State Street, Capital Group of Companies, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Blackrock (US), Barclays Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland (UK), BNP Paribas (France), Deutsche Bank (Germany), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking (Japan), Life Insurance Corporation (India), and UBS and Credit Suisse (Switzerland).

We discussed this finding with our former Secretary-General of WILPF, Susi Snyder, currently the Nuclear Disarmament Programme Manager for IKV Pax Christi, one of the authors of the report.  “When we look at the size of the investments, it is really startling to see how much money the top 10 financial institutions have provided to nuclear weapons producers” Susi explains.

Susi has been working on nuclear disarmament campaigning for a long time, and believes that divestment campaigns can be useful tools to engage members of the public. “A number of previous divestment campaigns have been crucial in bringing about change, and drawing attention to the problems that governments had yet to address” Susi Snyder argues.

Put pressure on your bank

Since almost every member of the public has a bank account or is part of a pension plan, she argues that if your bank or pension fund is investing in nuclear weapon producers then so are you. Divestment campaigns are a way to bring an abstract issue like nuclear disarmament back to personal decisions; in this case, where people put their money.

Susi Snyder believes that most people would be shocked to know that their money is funding nuclear weapon producers.

“Since banks have a large customer base, it means that campaigners have large numbers of potential campaign supporters. If enough people take action and express concern over their bank of pension fund investing in nuclear weapons, or if enough customers threaten to withdraw their funds and change their bank accounts, this can have a real impact on a bank’s decision to divest from nuclear weapons producing companies” she says.

National legislation

While individual choices by consumers are helpful, it is also possible to approach this issue on a more systematic level. Susi Snyder relates that national legislation in Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia prohibits investments in nuclear weapons. She believes that national legislation should forbid investment in any companies that produce key components for ‘an explosive device that employs nuclear fission or nuclear fusion to generate explosive force’.

“However, what we need is a treaty that outlaws nuclear weapons, and that explicitly prohibits any assistance for nuclear weapons,” Susi Snyder says.

Looking back at her previous job as the Secretary-General of WILPF (2005-2010), Susi thinks that WILPF is one of the few organisations in the world that provides an on-going analysis of the systemic issues leading to conflict, including economic analyses.

“Follow the money”

“While I was Secretary-General we had a project examining the relationship between human rights abuses and export processing zones. Very few organisations make the same global connections between the root causes of conflict.” WILPF is one of the few organisations that combines ways to move towards a more peaceful society with insight into the drivers behind the military-industrial-academic complex. “I spent almost a decade working for WILPF, during which I learned to make the connections—and to follow the money—to inspire and advocate for change.”

Photo of the cover of the report "Don't bank on the bomb".As the report is being launched and picked up by media all around the world, Susi Snyder highlights that this is an opportunity for peace activists around the world to act.

Most WILPF members have a bank account or a pension plan.  We can all find out if our banks or pension funds are investing in nuclear weapon producers.

Inform others

We can also inform others about the findings in this report. “WILPF member can also contact their financial institutions and demand, from a client perspective, that a policy be developed to comprehensively prohibit all investments in all activities of nuclear weapon producing companies” Susi encourages.

These actions and many others are listed on the campaign website Don’t bank on the bomb. Here you can also find the report. Download the report Don’t bank on the bomb. You can also read an executive summary with the main findings.

By Anna Andreasson, Reaching Critical Will of WILPF

Share the post

Your donation isn’t just a financial transaction; it’s a step toward a more compassionate and equitable world. With your support, we’re poised to achieve lasting change that echoes through generations. Thank you!

Thank you!

Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris facilisis luctus rhoncus. Praesent eget tellus sit amet enim consectetur condimentum et vel ante. Nulla facilisi. Suspendisse et nunc sem. Vivamus ullamcorper vestibulum neque, a interdum nisl accumsan ac. Cras ut condimentum turpis. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia curae; Curabitur efficitur gravida ipsum, quis ultricies erat iaculis pellentesque. Nulla congue iaculis feugiat. Suspendisse euismod congue ultricies. Sed blandit neque in libero ultricies aliquam. Donec euismod eget diam vitae vehicula. Fusce hendrerit purus leo. Aenean malesuada, ante eu aliquet mollis, diam erat suscipit eros, in.


WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

Skip to content