During the action week „Don´t Bank on the Bomb“ between September 26th (Nuclear Abolition Day) and October 3rd campaigners organized demonstrations around Germany against investments in nuclear weapon producers. In Germany more than eight financial institutions invest more than 7 billion Euros in companies producing nuclear weapon parts or their launching systems. Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank are the two biggest investors and were the main focus of the campaign.
Members of the YFP organized a Demonstration in front of Commerzbank in Bremen. Together with the activists Alessa and Darius asked the demonstrators to construct a “contaminated area” in front of the Commerzbank branch to inform clients about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. During the demonstrations they were able to start a constructive dialogue with the branch manager. It was remarkable how well informed he was about the campaign and the demonstrations in Berlin, Bonn, Hamburg, Hannover, Cologne, Munich und Stuttgart.
On the same day, Commerzbank published a reply to the campaign on their Facebook page. This can be seen as a sign that customers and consumers can have an impact even on large-scale corporations.
The focus on Commerzbank wasn’t wholly without reason: After the financial crisis the Bank tried to polish their image with slogans like “does Germany need another bank which simply continues With business-as-usual?” The activists understood these words as a promise to change. In 2008 Commerzbank commitment itself to ethical standards in order to regulate which deals are morally justifiable and which are not. Those guidelines were also meant to stop investments in “controversial weapons”which include nuclear weapons. Up until today Commerzbank did not follow its own rules and continues to invest in companies producing nuclear weapon parts or their launching systems.
The demonstrators called upon Commerzbank to immediately ban all investments in nuclear weapons including those in so called “mixed companies” which produce not only nuclear weapons but are involved in other productions as well. A complete halt of Commerzbank´s investments would be a major step towards a global condemnation of nuclear weapons: An appropriate investment in our shared future.
Interested if your bank invests in nuclear weapons? Check it out.
Text: Darius Reinhardt