In the first three months of 2021, Barclays made pre-tax profits of 2.4 billion, a level of profit not seen in 13 years. Particularly strong was the growth in its corporate and investment banking division that includes loans made to 11 companies producing nuclear weapons.
The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force on 22 January 2021 after ratification by 50 states. Based on established principles in international law the Treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, or stockpile nuclear weapons. Setsuko Thurlow, survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima, recalls the news of the 50th ratification: “when I learned that we reached our 50th ratification, I was not able to stand. I remained in my chair and put my head in my hands and I cried tears of joy… I have nothing but gratitude for all who have worked for the success of our treaty.”
In order to avoid financing activities that are illegal under this treaty, banks must avoid financing of any description to companies producing or stockpiling nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, Barclays have been assessed in our survey of 15 major UK financial institutions as having the second heaviest financial exposure to nuclear weapons producing companies.
Cluster munitions are identically banned under international law. Barclays exclude all funding to companies involved in their production. The bank, then, surely recognises that providing a producer company with a loan or bond allows that company to shift funding around to support activities that are prohibited under international law. But Barclays policy is inconsistent. Following the entry into force of the TPNW the same principle must urgently be applied to producers of nuclear weapons.
Take action here and tell Barclays not to make profit through the production of these most devastating, indiscriminate and illegal weapons.