Leading German financial institute ready to disarm

Nongovernmental organisations welcome abandonment of investments in cluster munition

The organisation FACING FINANCE welcomes the anouncement of the Deutsche Bank to cease business relations with producers of cluster munition, an important first step in the direction of a general ban.

FACING FINANCE and its partner organisation urgewald have investigated and repeatedly criticised the relationships of several German financial institutions with producers of cluster munition in the foregoing months. A spokesman of the Deutsche Bank stipulated in an interview with the German newspaper DIE ZEIT that the Bank will abandon relations to companies involved in the production of cluster munition. He stated that „new deals with these firms will only be considered if the respective clients explicitly commit to abandon such activity“. Existing contracts, however, are still considered valid by the institution.

“The decision of the Deutsche Bank to abandon investments in cluster munition in future is predominantly a response to the proactive engagement of NGOs“, claims Thomas Küchenmeister from FACING FINANCE welcoming the anouncement of the institution.

The campaign FACING FINANCE is supported by the Serbian Branislav Kapetanovic, himself victim of cluster munition. On the genereal shareholder’s meeting last May Kapetanovic has urged the executive board of the Deutsche Bank to cease these lethal deals. „I am greatful that the Deutsche Bank disengages in the business with cluster munition. This renders our common mission successful“, stated Kapetanovic. FACING FINANCE and Kapetanovic are members of the international Cluster Munition Coalition.

FACING FINANCE expects that this decision has cross-company effects on all direct and indirect investments of the Deutsche Bank. Yet, it remains to be seen whether the asset management also falls under the scope abandonment.

In spite of the positive anouncement of the Deutsche Bank, FACING FINANCE remains supportive of a generally applicable prohibition of investments. „Only a legal ban can eradicate investments in weapons violating international law“, underlines Küchenmeister.

The organisation hopes for more support of the financial sector with regards to a clear legal framework. On a previous event at the German Bundestag in September titled „Ban investments in cluster munition“, none of the present representatives of financial institutions had made explicit commitments for a prohibition of investments in the production of cluster munition.

The Deutsche Bank, however, was not the only financial institution which reacted to the increasing critique of NGOs. The Commerzbank, Allianz Global Investors, Deka and the HypoVereinsbank have adopted similar regulations for investments.

Demands for a general legal prohibition of investments which directly or indirectly finance the production of cluster munition have been submitted to the German Bundestag. A parliamentary decision on the request initiated by Social Democrats (SPD), left-wing socialists (DIE LINKE) and Greens (BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN) is expected at the end of the year. Yesterday, the request struggled to pass the first obstacle in the committee on disarmament. The coalition of Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the Liberals (FDP) had opposed the request. This does, however, not entail a general failure of the motion.

FACING FINANCE will continue to keep an eye on the investment behaviour of the financial sector not only with regards to internationally condemned weapons, but also concerning human rights violations and ecological devastation.

For further information: www.facing-finance.org and www.urgewald.de.

Contact: Thomas Küchenmeister, Facing Finance (Cluster Munition Coalition),  +49 (0) 175-4964082.