ING A rejects munitions claims (Australia)
ING Australia has hit back at claims that it invests in companies that manufacture cluster munitions, stating it applied strict standards that prevented investments in such practices and that it is already a signatory of the Equator Principles.
Last Friday, Australia, along with more 100 other countries, signed an international treaty that outlawed the use and production of cluster munitions.
Momentum around the treaty has prompted several financial institutions to clarify their positions around investing in defence and munitions companies after queries were expressed in a newspaper letter to the editor.
According to a spokesperson at ING Australia, the firm enforced a strict investment procedure regarding munitions in its funds and portfolios.
"In March 2005 ING revised its defence investing policy. This revised policy states that munitions companies are excluded from new financing. Past financing may have occurred prior to this policy," the firm said in a statement.
While the statement advised that ING Australia was currently not a member of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI), they have advised they "intend joining in the near future."
But ING Australia is arguably ahead of many Australian UN PRI signatories which are now trying to now define what signing the protocols pragmatically means. ING Australia is already a signatory of the Equator Principles for environmental and social benchmarks for project financiers which were launched in 2003.
Von: 6.6.2008, www.financialstandard.com.au, by Michael Hobbs