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21 Apr 2015 No respondents
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By Amanda Lees
VX Community
Mega Mind (39846 XP)


Scotland’s most substantial local authority pension scheme has been sharply criticized for investing £83 million in 11 of the world’s biggest arms firms.

At the close of 2014, Glasgow City Council’s Strathclyde Pension Fund had shares amounting to £19.6 million in Lockheed Martin and Boeing – two of the biggest arms manufacturers on the planet.
Lockheed Martin, one of the Strathclyde Pension Fund's leading benefactors, produces military aircraft, armored ground vehicles, missiles, unmanned systems for air and naval systems. It exports arms to states across the globe, including Israel and Bahrain.

Boeing is the world’s leading aerospace firm, and the largest producer of military aircraft and commercial jetliners in the world. Its aircraft have been deployed in military campaigns in war-torn states such as Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

Other leading arms firms invested in by the fund include Safran (£17.2 million), Honeywell (£16.4 million), United Technologies (£7.1 million) and Raytheon (£2.3 million).

Safran specializes in aerospace equipment, as well as defense and security-related weaponry and technology. It manufactures drone technology, air-land systems, biometric identification systems and more.

Holywell manufactures technology used in combat aircraft, tanks and the Reaper drone, deployed by the CIA and various states to conduct strikes worldwide. According to UK think tank Drone Wars, the US is the most prolific user of this unmanned aerial vehicle, and has used it to target and kill numerous people in Pakistan and Yemen.

Raytheon makes the Reaper drone’s targeting system. The firm has also been linked to manufacturing components for bombs deployed in the 2014 Gaza conflict.Margaret Curran MP, shadow secretary of state for Scotland, was seated at Raytheon's table in February at a glitzy arms banquet in Westminster, according to UK charity Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

United Technologies produces aircraft, drones and helicopters, including the Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk. In 2012, it pleaded guilty to the “illegal export to China of US-origin military software used in the development of China's first modern military attack helicopter,” CATT says.

Scottish pension schemes have previously been scrutinized for investments in tobacco and arms firms. In January 2014, it emerged Scottish public sector pensions had invested over £220 million in tobacco companies, such as Marlboro, Benson & Hedges and Lucky Strike.

A further £55 million is thought to have been siphoned into the world’s top 10 arms producers, which sell explosive artillery, armored tanks, rocket launchers and F-16 fighter planes.

These investments occurred in the face of specific guidelines calling for social and ethical concerns to be considered by Scottish councils issuing investments.

The global arms trade devastates lives, tramples on human rights, and jeopardizes security across the world. Anti-arms campaigners say the export and sale of arms entrenches a militaristic rather than diplomatic approach to international concerns.  The extent of Glasgow City Council’s investment in this lucrative but deadly trade sparked outrage across the UK.

Read the article in full here:  rt.com/uk/246333-arms-trade-pension-scheme/  

Many of us contribute to pension/retirement schemes offered by or through our employer, but may be unaware how our money is being invested. Does it matter where that investment takes place? Is it ok for these schemes to choose the most lucrative investment options - even when those may be with companies that we consider 'unethical'?

We all want the best return on our investment. We all want a pension that will sustain us through retirement. Are you happy to one day receive a pension that is the result of investment in the arms trade and the tobacco industry? Does the end justify the means?

What do you think?

Image source  
It is proposed that pension schemes should continue to invest in the most lucrative firms available