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Länsförsäkringar bans nuclear weapon investments

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Swedish financial institution Länsförsäkringar is the latest financial institution to add the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to their controversial weapons policy. 

In a policy update issued September 2021, Swedish insurance company Länsförsäkringar cited the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and it’s comprehensive outlawing of the development, production and manufacture of nuclear weapons as a major reason to avoid any financial exposure to the companies involved in producing these weapons of mass destruction. The policy also includes an expectation that any companies involved in the nuclear weapon business will cease these activities. 

Länsförsäkringar Alliance is a Swedish institution that offers banking services, mutual funds as well as life and non-life insurance solutions. It is a significant asset owner, showing more than $46 billion on its books at the end of 2020. 

Länsförsäkringar has kept a controversial weapons policy in place for a number of years, as part of its sustainability efforts. Their policy defines controversial weapons as those that cannot discriminate between military and civilians and is based on a number of international conventions, including biological and chemical weapons, cluster munitions and landmines (among others). The policy also refers to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and says that weapons of mass destruction are a violation of goal number 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.

This change raises the bar on what is acceptable and unacceptable investment, especially for institutions already committed to the Sustainable Development Goals and enforcing a more comprehensive due diligence approach on controversial weapons. Länsförsäkringar is raising the standard in Sweden and leading by example. 

Länsförsäkringar is also preparing for when Sweden joins the TPNW, and adds to the pressure on the Swedish government to join the treaty without delay. Länsförsäkringar recognizes the potential within the ban treaty, through effective norm development and action to disincentivize the production, development and manufacture of nuclear weapons. 

This change in the policy is a reflection of the growing attention to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons paid by the financial sector. Länsförsäkringar joins others like KBC Group, APG, Storebrand and NIBC in citing the TPNW as a reason for excluding nuclear weapon producers from their investment universe.