Thursday, 26 April 2007

Ethical Investment expert JULIAN PARROTT on the council's investment choice

City stake in BAE is not ethical

EDINBURGH City Council makes great play of its positive policies. It has gained Fair Trade status for the city, many of its Labour administration have expressed opposition to the war in Iraq and it has developed a corporate social responsibility policy for its investment role within the Lothian Pension Fund. It is therefore surprising to see that an apparently progressive council is under pressure for its investment in British Aerospace Systems (BAE).

Why is there such concern about BAE? It employs 2000 people in Edinburgh, generating jobs and revenue. Surely a positive investment for the city? The problem with BAE is that it manufactures weapons, and not only for HM Forces. It makes and markets its weapons to Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, and Indonesia to name just a few.

These countries are high on the Amnesty International register of oppressive regimes. Integrity for a company in this business is crucial, but last year BAE was investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in relation to corruption in its dealings with the Saudi Arabian authorities.

Although this inquiry has been discontinued, BAE is still under investigation by the SFO regarding defence contracts in other countries.

Despite this, the city council has accepted a role for socially responsible investments in pensions management, and one has to ask is the investment in BAE just a question of profit over principle? BAE is profitable - it recently declared profits of £1.05bn. Much of this business is underwritten by the Government, and it's no coincidence that an upturn in fortunes has coincided with the Iraq war. Despite this, the "defence" sector as an economic element is not an important part of the UK economy, representing just one per cent, so the effect of omitting such a small sector is negligible to performance.

When considering ethical investment, the critics will often suggest it's too risky or it's impossible to screen effectively. But I'd rather the council sought to use the power of its money and consider the positive benefit that an ethical policy could have.

Money "talks", and when you invest in a company you have a vote on its activities. Today, more than £6bn is invested ethically in the UK investment market, and ethically invested money is increasingly impacting on the decision making processes of big business. If the current level of investment, mainly from private investors, was combined with large institutional funds, such as Edinburgh Council, we could really start to make some progress.

Establishing strong negative screening criteria may prove difficult for an organisation such as Edinburgh City Council, but surely there are some clear no-go areas for products such as arms and tobacco. Investing in sustainable industries of the future is surely the lead that an institution such as Edinburgh City Council should be taking.

A first step in this direction would be selling BAE and sending a clear message to the world that we don't want blood on our hands.


Councils lose money from not investing ethically

Unethical Investment

An interesting article from

Socially Responsible Investment: Councils lose money by not investing ethically
Thursday, December 28, 2006 - 04:53 PM

Council pension fund's holding of shares in weapons manufacturers brought a poorer return in 2005 than if the money had been put into ethical investments.
Growth in the FTSE4Good Global 100 index, a leading tracker of ethical investments, was more than 50% greater in the past 12 months than the rise in BAE shares. The usual council excuse is that the pension fund has to achieve the best possible investment returns for its members. These figures showthat investing in BAE makes poor investment sense as well as being immoral. BAE shares ended the year 10.6% higher than a year previously, as institutional investors cynically welcomed the government's decision to order the Serious Fraud Office to end its investigation into bribery allegations against the weapons manufacturer.

However, the FTSE4Good Global 100 index did much better, surging more than15% during 2006, justly rewarding people who chose to invest in a principled way. Some other measures of ethical investment even outshone theFTSE4Good Global index, depending o­n the method of calculation. The DowJones EURO STOXX Sustainability 40 has soared more than 26% in the past year. The FTSE4Good Global Index achieved a similar outperformance against theFTSE 100 index of leading UK shares, which gained about 10% in 2006. The more narrowly-focussed FTSE4Good UK index also did better than the FTSE 100,with an 11% leap, despite the limited number of companies in the UK from which the index's components can be selected.

The UK has trailed behind other European countries in developing ethically acceptable and environmentally friendly industries, undermined by attitudes such as that of the Barnet Council pension fund. This means that Britain is still lagging behind in obtaining the economic benefits that such industries are now bringing to more forward-looking countries, both in terms of job creation and return o­n investment. For instance, Denmark is home to Vestas Wind Systems, the world's biggest manufacturer of wind turbines. Vestas employs 11,900 people and has seen its share price more than double this year, to €229 from €104.5. If council pension funds adopted a more ethical policy, such as the UN guidelines, it could achieve a double benefit of improving the fund's investment returns and, if it invested in appropriate UK companies, it could help encourage faster growth in ethical business sectors in this country.

Council pension funds should to scrap their current immoral investment policies and adopt the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Further BAE/government corruption

UK tries to sabotage BAE Systems bribes inquiry - report

LONDON (Thomson Financial) - The UK is covertly trying to oust the head of the world's main anti-bribery watchdog to prevent criticism of ministers and Britain's biggest arms company, BAE Systems, according to a report in The Guardian.

The report said efforts have been made to remove Mark Pieth from his position as the chairman of the anti-corruption watchdog of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). These moves come as the OECD has stepped up its investigation into the British government's decision to kill off a major inquiry into allegations that BAE paid massive bribes to land Saudi arms deals.

The Guardian claims that at the OECD meeting in Paris last month, British officials tried to stop Prof Pieth addressing a press conference at which he announced his agency was to conduct a formal inquiry into the government's decision to terminate the BAE investigation. They then privately briefed other diplomats involved with the OECD, saying he should be removed, according to the report.

However, concern about the conduct of the British diplomats apparently filtered back to Pieth, who was cited by The Guardian as saying that he was aware of the attempts to remove him.
'I am aware that the British ambassador was asking at the time for action to be taken against me,' Peith told The Guardian.

In recent weeks the UK has demanded that OECD officials should be prevented from making any future statements about the BAE case while the inquiry is ongoing. But, according to the report, the UK failed with this request.
'The British do not have support from anyone else on this,' an OECD source told The Guardian.

Monday, 23 April 2007

First refusal

The Labour party's representative dealing with investments has flat out refused to invest ethically after the election on May 03. In a statement to the press she said this is not something she would do.

We know it's possible - councils did it during apartheid, and universities and churches and other organisations (Amnesty International for example) are doing it now.

This campaign is designed to give whoever is in power in the council after May the political will to go ahead and do the right thing.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Council candidates back ethical investment policy at Leith Walk Hustings

In answer to a question from the floor at Edinburgh Leith Walk Hustings regarding the council's investment in BAE Systems, responses were as follows

Green - Yes we will disinvest, and as Greens have done whevever they are elected to councils, push for an ethical investment policy, and invest in more positive things.

Labour - Yes, I understand there has been some discussion of this

Conservative - I have suffered under Robert Mugabe, and its shocking a british company would sell to him. However council workers also need good pensions, so I agree as long as it doesn't cost them too much.

Lib Dem - Yes

Solidarity (Scotland's Socialist Movement) - Yes, and we will build alternative industries so that workers can work for things which are designed to sustain the planet not destroy it.

SNP - We are thoroughly opposed to Trident, so I guess we would support this too.

Letter printed in Evening News 16/04/07

Letter printed in Evening News 16/04/07

Give BAE systems a very wide berth

BAE Systems have sold weapons to some of the most brutal regimes in the world - including Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Colombia - as well as profiting out of the increased demand for weapons that arose out of the Iraq war.

I hope that Edinburgh councillors will disassociate themselves from this company.

Tim Gee, Dublin Street, Edinburgh

Monday, 16 April 2007

This is a leaflet from a student careers fair earlier this year

Think twice before you work for BAE systems leaflet

Iraq and Afghanistan make BAE extra profits

Profits top £1bn as BAE cashes in on US


BAE Systems, Britain's biggest arms manufacturer, has unveiled profits of more than £1 billion just months after the government quashed a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) probe into the business.

Operating profits jumped 33 per cent for 2006, from £761 million to £1.1bn, driven in part by booming US business from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and its shares jumped 4.3 per cent to 466.5p.

Orders increased to £31.7bn, mainly due to US demand for land vehicles and arms and contracts to support the Tornado fighter aircraft. The company, which unloaded its 20 per cent share in Airbus in May, also reported good progress in Saudi Arabia, the market about which it faced severe pressure last year due to long-standing corruption allegations.

But Vincent Cable, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, immediately condemned the results as "utterly artificial".

He said: "The company's profits depend on major, UK government-supported, export contracts - around which there are unresolved allegations of corrupt commission payouts and pending prosecutions - or on favoured contracts for government procurement."

It was in December that BAE became the focus of unwelcome headlines around the world when the government ordered the SFO to halt a major criminal investigation into allegations that it paid bribes to Saudi officials in return for orders. The government, claiming it was on the grounds of national interest, was heavily criticised over the decision by, among others, international anti-corruption agency the Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development.

The SFO investigation into the Saudi contracts had led to fears that the company could lose a 72-jet order for Typhoon aircraft from the kingdom.

BAE has denied any wrongdoing. Chief executive Mike Turner said BAE maintained the highest ethical standards and would co-operate with any requests from the SFO, which is still investigating past BAE dealings in South Africa, Tanzania, Romania, Chile, the Czech Republic and Qatar.

In a reference to the government decision to pull the investigation, Turner told financial analysts: "Following the problems during the autumn, the contract negotiations for Typhoon, including a time table for delivery, are progressing."

In a wider comment on reports of corruption investigations facing the company, Turner said the allegations were "all unsupported by evidence. We have been clear and consistent in denying any wrongdoing".

He said there was still a major opportunity in "supporting the partnership" between the UK government and Saudi Arabia, playing a key role in upgrading the kingdom's armed forces.

However, much of its growth is now coming from the US on the back of a series of Homeland Security contracts and deals to support the military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. BAE's order book is fuelled mainly by contracts in its North American land and armaments business.

BAE completed the sale of its £1.8bn stake in the struggling planemaker Airbus last October. Some £500m is being used to fund buybacks but BAE reiterated that the balance will go back into the business.

The full-year dividend is going up 9.7 per cent to 11.3p per share.

Web link

BAE Systems

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Amnesty, WDM, Jubilee, CAAT and candidates from Greens, Labour and Libdems back campaign in letter to Scottish newspapers

Dear Sir,

We write to offer our support for the proposal for Edinburgh Council to adopt an ethical investment policy. This would mean that if councillors or members of the public are unhappy with the actions of a company in which the council has shares, this may be voted on, and shares withdrawn. Many universities and churches across the country have taken such principled actions. We challenge Scottish councils to do so too, and council candidates to declare whether they support such a route of action.

Yours truly,

Ruth Cameron, Convener, Scottish Young Greens
Malcolm Chisholm, Labour Candidate, Edinburgh North and Leith
Gary Dunion, Green Candidate, Central region
Janet Fenton, Co-ordinator, Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre
Robin Harper, Convener, Scottish Green Party
Liz Law, Chair, Edinburgh Campaign Against the Arms Trade
Ben Miller, Convener, Edinburgh People and Planet
Maureen Moore, Director, Ash Scotland
Julian Parrott, Ethical Futures
Kirstie Shirra, Director, World Development Movement Scotland
Mike Pringle, Lib Dem candidate, Edinburgh South
Ben Young, Director, Jubilee Scotland
John Watson, Director, Amnesty Scotland

Friday, 13 April 2007

George Monbiot throws weight behind campaign

Dear Tim,

Thanks very much for this.

I support the campaign by Edinburgh students to persuade the council to stop investing in BAe Systems and other arms companies. At present, the council's money is being used to underwrite the means by which large numbers of people are killed or mutilated. If I were drawing a council pension I would be extremely unhappy about the idea that my money was being squeezed out of other people's blood.

With my best wishes, George Monbiot

SSP support campaign

Thanks for your e-mail which has been passed to myself for a response.

The SSP as a party - as well as its individual council and Parliamentary
candidates - are more than happy to support the campaign of Edinburgh
University students to bring pressure to bear on the City Council to adopt
an ethical investment policy.

The successes already achieved at the University demonstrate that this
could easily be accomplished by the incoming council. We hope that we will
have a few councillors after the election to add their support to your
campaign but in any case will do whatever we can to achieving this
admirable objective.

If there is any way in which we can offer assistance to the campaign at a
local or Parliamentary level please do not hesitate to contact me

Wishing you and the campaign success.

Yours Sincerely,

Bill Scott
Senior Parliamentary Researcher
SSP Group

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Anti-debt campaigners against BAE


The Serious Fraud Office is investigating allegations that a huge bribe was paid to lock the Tanzanian government into buying a military radar from BAE Systems. The World Bank said that the radar was useless and overpriced. Debt relief promised at Gleneagles was used to pay for it.

Well-placed politicians have suggested that this scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. With its large investments, perhaps Edinburgh City Council could persuade BAE to lift the lid on what's going on.

Ben Young
Jubilee Scotland
41 George IV Bridge
+44 (0)131 225 4321
07913 040 877

Campaign wins support of Edinburgh Peace and Justice Resource Centre

From Edinburgh Peace and Justice Resource centre

The Edinburgh Peace and Justice Resource Centre is glad to see
that the City Council is being urged to end its £2m holding in BAE Systems. (Tuesday, Edinburgh Evening News) In addition to considering the effect of arms sales to brutal regimes, councillors should also bear in mind BAE’s undue
influence on Government policy. Almost unbelievably the Serious Fraud
Office was compelled to abandon its investigation into how BAE secured
a big arms deal with Saudi Arabia. One reason for the decision to replace Trident could be that BAE needed the contracts: - otherwise its workforce might have drifted away to more constructive and peaceable employment.

The whole arms trade is at odds with efforts to create a sustainable world order,
does not deserve investment, and is completely unacceptable to many employees of the City Council as well as to many of those who pay the City’s Council tax.
BAE is notorious, no matter how often its name is changed.

Janet Fenton

Ethical Investment makes you money!

UK: Ethical investment fund tops performance of UK stock market funds
A News item from Business Respect, Issue Number 107, dated 9 Feb 2007

The Co-operative Insurance Sustainable Leaders fund has become the best performing unit trust in the UK over the past year - the first time an ethical fund has achieved pole position.

Recent years have seen such funds growing in popularity, with 10 new funds launched last year. They have had a mixed record, with some years seeing relatively poor performance compared to other funds. However, this year sectors that the ethical funds avoid, such as tobacco and gambling, have been underperforming.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007


1. Why do councils such as Edinburgh invest in arms companies?

Since the “war on terror” many arms company share prices have sharply risen as defence budgets have increased and new orders have come in.There is often nothing preventing councils from investing in the arms trade. Without ethical investment policies expressly prohibiting such investments, pension managers will see their fiduciary duty to maximize profits as their one and only concern.

2. Who is to say which companies are ethical and which aren't? Where do you draw the line?/ Ethical criteria are too tricky to define and apply to an investment policy, so what's the point?

A council’s investment decisions rely upon the information and instructions that the finance director receives. Ethical concerns can form a part of this process as there are recognised frameworks for socially responsible investing - and for ascertaining institutional values.

Pension managers can be instructed to weigh ethical and financial considerations and the evidence from the size of the UK ethical investment market (£17bn screened + £280bn under 'engagement' instructions), and its positive performance shows that many do so successfully.

3. Do we really think that by getting one council to withdraw it's shares in a company that produces weapons that this will stop the arms trade? Someone else will buy them and nothing will have changed.

When an institution invests in a company it confers upon that company a credibility that would not otherwise have existed. Taken in isolation, one council divesting from the arms trade will have a small impact, but as more universities divest and are seen to be able to manage quite well with alternative investments the economic status quo will be brought into question and universities which continue to invest will be pressurised into justifying their continued association with arms companies. Furthermore, the debate which arises around divestment issues allows the culture of military influence on campus- through funding of research- to be broached.

4. Won't Socially Responsible Investment harm financial returns?

Ethical investment funds that preclude arms company shares are amongst the most profitable. In the past decade the Church of England’s £4.3 billion ethically-managed fund, for example, was the 2nd best performer of more than 1,000 funds.

5. Aren't Councils legally prohibited from investing ethically?

Trustees are obligated to pursue best value – but this specifically does not exclude Ethical Investment. The Goode Committee on Pension Law Reform concluded “Trustees...are perfectly entitled to have a policy on ethical investment and pursue that policy.”

6. What alternative investment opportunities are available?

The ethical investment industry is well-established in the UK and offers a range of services for institutional investors. A good place to start would be Ethical Investment Research Services (EIRIS), who produce guides for investors and fund managers so that they can find the ethical policy which is right for them.

With thanks to UCL P and P

Another Evening News article recently

BAE roadshow proves popular

DEFENCE and engineering giant BAE Systems said today it had had a good response to its recruitment drive aimed at young children.

The company, which has operations at Edinburgh Park, said around 30,000 youngsters had already seen its recently-launched schools roadshow, which BAE hopes will give an insight into career opportunities within engineering and science.

Article in the Edinburgh Evening News

City urged to sell 'unethical'shares in BAE

CAMPAIGNERS are urging Edinburgh council to sell around £2 million worth of shares in engineering firm BAE systems.

They want the council to adopt an ethical investment policy and claim the shares are helping fund the war in Iraq and provide weapons for dictatorships around the world.

The call comes after a report from Campaign Against the Arms Trade showed the council held £2m of shares in BAE Systems - a company which, campaigners say, has supplied weapons to some of the world's most brutal regimes including Indonesia, Zimbabwe, and Colombia.

Institutions such as Edinburgh University already have ethical investment policies in place, allowing workers to propose dis-investment in companies not in line with their ethos.

Campaign spokesperson Dariush Bazazi said: "Most councillors opposed the war in Iraq, yet freedom of information requests show that they are reaping the profits by investing in arms companies such as BAE Systems.

"Edinburgh University has had an ethical investment policy for several years now, administered by the same company that the council uses, so the switch would be relatively easy to make."

An online blog for the campaign has been set up at

Why are BAE Systems bad company?

Why are BAE Systems Bad Company?

Contents -

In Short
Letter from Church Leaders
Case Studies

In short

BAE systems is the largest arms producer in the UK. It attracts consistent criticism for its sale of military equipment to oppressive regimes and human rights abusing dictatorships.

According to Unicef, 90% of casualties of war are civilians, 2 million children have been killed by war in the last decade and 6 million children seriously injured. The only people that profit are the arms companies.

FUELLING CONFLICT -- BAE has been taking advantage of the USA's 10% increase in weapons spending for equipment used in the illegal war in Iraq. While India and Pakistan were on the brink of nuclear war, BAE tried to sell 66 Hawk Jets worth £1 billion to India. The UK Ministry of Defence has also ordered equipment for use in Iraq including Cluster Bomb shells.

OPPRESSIVE REGIMES -- BAE supplied Hawk Ground Attack aircraft to the Suharto military dictatorship in Indonesia which were used to attack civilians in then illegally-occupied East Timor. BAE also supplied Hawk Jets to Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe. Very recently BAE have sold Radar Equipment to the oppressive regime in Colombia, while a subsidiary of BAE is refurbishing 105-millimetre guns for the armed forces of Morocco, who illegally occupy Western Sahara. These guns are used along the Western Saharan border over which 160,000 Saharawi refugees have fled since 1975. Some F-16 aircraft sold to the US have been passed on to Israel, and used in bombing of civilian areas.

CORRUPTION -- BAE is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office for running a slush fund for the Saudi Royal family, and paying more than a million pounds to former Chilean dictator General Pinochet.

FUELLING POVERTY -- BAE is happy to sell weapons systems to African countries such as Tanzania that cannot even afford health or education for their own people. Also, the more weapons are made and supplied to Africa, the worse wars get and the more poverty is fuelled. Weapons can often flow to Africa via 'safe' countries.

ELECTRIC SHOCK TORTURE BATONS -- In 1995 a BAE salesman offered to supply undercover reporters with electroshock weapons. He also claimed that 8,000 electroshock batons had been supplied to Saudi Arabia where systematic torture, including the use of electroshock weapons, has been described by victims of the authorities.


Q - But if we didn't sell them, wouldn't someone else?

A - Supplying weapons to a murderer in British law is called aiding and abbetting. Would you then say 'but if I didn't give him the gun, some one else would'?

A - 'British' arms companies source their components from all around the world, and increasingly is outsourcing its labour. Indeed many of the companies do not even want to be 'British' preferring to be seen as global companies. Hence British Aerospace changing its name to BAE Systems.

A - Of course the arms trade needs regulating globally, and we are campaigning with Amnesty and Oxfam for a global arms trade treaty. However, BAE Systems are lobbying against us.

Q - Don't British arms companies support British Jobs?

A - This is one of the main arguments put forward by those who support the arms trade, but it doesn't add up. According to the governments own figures, there are about 90,000 people employed, directly and indirectly, by the arms trade. Given that the subsidy is around £760m to £1bn per year, this works out at about £9,000 - £11,000 per job! This is an enormous amount of money which would in fact create far more jobs in other, less capital intensive (and risky) sectors such battleing the most important threat of our time - climate change - by developing renewable technology and cleaner transport. A recent MoD/York University report stated that if subsidies were cut by 50%, 49,000 job losses would be offset by 67,000 jobs created in the civil sector.

Another issue is that the number of jobs in the sector is falling all the time anyway. This is partly because companies are moving production lines overseas. In January 2002 for instance, just a few months after BAE Systems announced 1,000 job cuts at its factory in Glasgow, it 'created' 1,000 jobs at a new facility in America. CAAT (Campaign Against the Arms Trade) would like to see some of the money spent currently on subsidies redirected into a National Conversion Fund and used to help companies convert to civil production.

Q - Don't our arms exports help to defray the cost of supplying our own armed forces with military equipment?

A - This is the argument that is most often used by the arms companies to justify their subsidies. The reality is that export orders tend to come after the initial investment and often after any orders for the MoD have been filled. This means that any benefits go to the company and do not bring the cost of weapons for our own armed forces down. The government implicitly recognises this by trying to charge a levy to the arms manufacturers on exporters. They have tried to set this levy at 30% but currently only get around 1%.

Q - Surely arms exports are a useful tool of foreign policy -- we can have some control over other nations if they rely on us for weaponry and spare parts. Doesn't that make £760m well spent?

A - A relatively recent example again shows that the reality is a little different. The UK has been one of the most outspoken critics of Robert Mugabe's government in Zimbabwe. Criticism has focused on Zimbabwe's involvement in the awful war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and also the almost casual abuses of human rights in Zimbabwe itself. When Zimbabwe wanted to buy spare parts for its Hawk aircraft -- which have been used in the DRC conflict -- it seemed a perfect opportunity to show our displeasure and to use this foreign policy 'tool' by refusing to export the spares. However, in the teeth of opposition from human rights campaigners and even some members of the Cabinet, the licences were granted in order to protect the reputation of the arms companies as reliable suppliers. In other words rather than being a foreign policy 'tool', arms exports are given such priority that other policy objectives, such as the infamous 'ethical' foreign policy, come a distant second.

Q - Aren't arms sales important for our own security? Don't we need to support an independent 'Defence Industrial Base' which can be relied upon in times of international crisis?

A - It seems likely that the UK will soon follow George W. Bush into war with Syria. In that case, it does not make sense that we are selling arms to Syria. Indeed on many occasions in the past, UK made arms have been used against us, the Belgrano for instance. And let us not forget who it was that sold Saddam Hussein many of his weapons!

Letter to the Guardian Friday October 6, 2006 from UK church leaders

As leaders of Christian communities in the UK, we cannot help but listen and respond to the increasing cry from around the world of those caught up in armed conflict (Reports, October 3). Christian communities around the world urge us to do what we can to stop the flooding of their countries with weapons, arguing that the continued push of arms to their countries undermines the vital work of building peace and security.

The disappointing outcome of the UN small arms review conference over the summer and the difficulty of getting international agreement to regulate the arms trade makes it all the more important to ensure that we act to stop the weaponry at source. Through the Defence Export Services Organisation, the Ministry of Defence unit that for 40 years has helped UK companies sell their military equipment and services overseas, British taxpayers subsidise the export of arms into areas of conflict and to governments that abuse human rights.

In recent years, our Churches have made clear statements on the evils of the arms trade, offering other visions for peace and security. We are currently in the middle of the World Council of Churches' Decade to Overcome Violence and the United Nations' Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World and we believe that this is an opportune moment to begin a process which will lead to real change. In particular, we call on the UK government to close the Defence Export Services Organisation and not to transfer its functions elsewhere in the public sector, or to allocate public funds to enable them to be undertaken in the private sector.

Rev Graham Carter, President, Methodist Conference, Rev Kate Coleman President, Baptist Union Rt Rev Richard Inwood Bishop of Bedford, Rt Rev Patrick O'Donoghue, Bishop of Lancaster And 11 others

Case Studies

An excellent set of well researched country studies are available at


There is so much on corruption in BAE that I cannot copy and paste all the stories. Countless directors have been arrested and investigated. Handily, the anti-corruption group UNICORN have gathered them together. See:

another link

Check out the link to read about the case made when Edinburgh University embraced ethical investment in 2003 .

Those arms investments in full

You can read about the arms investments for every council in Scotland at

According to this report, at the end of 2005, Edinburgh council invested £8,381,187 in the arms trade, including £2,760,995 in BAE Systems. There has been no sign of them selling these shares since.

That could be about to change though.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Introduction to the campaign

The election for the new Edinburgh Council is now less than a month away. Every political party is casting itself as the party of social justice and the environment.

However, a report from Campaign Against the Arms Trade, for example, shows that Edinburgh Council holds 2 million pounds in shares in BAE Systems - an arms company that has in the last few years supplied weapons to some of the world's most brutal regimes - including Indonesia, Zimbabwe, and Colombia.

The council is also making profits out of an illegal and immoral war - against Iraq, by investing in arms, despite many councillor's expressed opposition to this war.

This campaign is to bring the principles of our councillors and their constituents in line with the investments that the council makes.

Edinburgh University has had an ethical investment policy for several years now, allowing students and university workers to propose disinvesting in companies not in line with their ethos. For example the medical department proposed disinvesting in British American Tobacco - which it successfully did.

The same company manages Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh University pension funds, so the switch will be relatively easy to make.

All it takes now, is the will of our candidates now, and councillors after May 03rd to go ahead with it.

Keep checking for updates. We will be contacting each of the parties, and will post their responses.