Statement by AXA
This statement is available as a PDF file by following this link:
http://wri-irg.org/news/2007/Com VA AIHI 050307.pdf
Response to the AXA statement
This communication by AXA on investments in producers of antipersonnel landmines and cluster bombs offers no concrete news on the point of view of AXA. The facts behind and within this communication are still shocking :
AXA is only disinvesting from antipersonnel mine producers with money from its own account. This is a decision that has been taken in the beginning of 2006. It's good to hear this commitment taken by AXA is fully applied. Although it would be good to hear from AXA which are the companies they considered as antipersonnel mine producers.
But AXA doesn't want to take any responsibility concerning third-party customer investments. This means that AXA investment funds offered to their clients still include anti personnel mine producers' stocks. Other companies like KBC, ING, Dexia, Fortis have removed antipersonnel mine producers from their third-party customer investments. A Belgian law, voted in March 2007, bans investments in antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions. This ban includes investment funds as well.
AXA is not disinvesting from cluster munition producers at all (not for their own-account investments and not for third-party customer investments). A 2006 report from Netwerk Vlaanderen (http://www.netwerkvlaanderen.be/en/index.php?
option=com_content&task=view&id=262&Itemid=243) revealed US$ 5,5 billion investments by AXA in 13 cluster munition producers.
These facts clearly show that AXA is lagging behind when it comes to taking up responsibility on their arms investments. Even the most controversial weapons are not yet out of their portfolios. Antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions are weapon systems violating international humanitarian law. For that reason antipersonnel mines have been banned by more than 150 countries. A process to create an international ban on cluster munitions is running. Recent research by Handicap International has revealed 98% of cluster munition victims are innocent civilians.
The cruel investments by AXA in these weapon systems cannot be masked by communication and PR efforts including :
- AXA pays attention to the questions concerning its investments….,
- AXA manages those investments responsibly….
- AXA calls for a broad reflection….
- AXA is currently pursuing the analysis of the issue of cluster bombs…
- AXA commits to improve the communication…
Yeah well, until now AXA is still complicit to the atrocities committed with antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions. So no discussion : AXA fully deserved the May trophee as War Profiteer of the Month.
Christophe Scheire (Netwerk Vlaanderen)