Dear (name of manager),
To state the obvious, the entire planet is now in a crisis of changing climate, habitat and species loss, mass migrations and wars. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless. But looking in depth at the situation, it soon becomes obvious that the single most damaging thing we are doing is the financial waste and environmental damage done by the preparation and practice of war. The world as a whole spends over $2 trillion annually on this primitive nonsense.
The problem of war is in great measure a problem of the wealthy nations flooding poor nations with weapons, most of them for profit, others for free. Regions of the world that we think of as war prone including Africa and most of Western Asia, do not manufacture most of their own weapons. They import from distant, wealthy nations. International small arms sales, in particular, have skyrocketed in recent years, tripling since 2001.
Canada’s involvement with the United States ensures that our aerospace and tech industries serve to turn out armaments for the U.S. war machine, the largest in the world by far, with a full 35% of the world military expenditures (SIPRI 2018). The world is awash in armaments, everything from automatic weapons, to battle tanks and heavy artillery. Arms manufacturers have lucrative government contracts and are even subsidized by them and also sell on the open market. The U.S. and Canada have sold billions in arms to the volatile Middle East. Sometimes the weapons are sold to both sides in a conflict. Sometimes the weapons end up being used against the seller and its allies. And we now have a new innovation on murder: the drone. The UN Arms Trade Treaty does not abolish the $70 billion a year arms trade; it just “regulates” it.
Portfolio managers have a fiduciary duty to inform their clients of what is in their best long term interests. Violence around the world causes environmental devastation, and mass migrations.
It also is a huge waste of financial and material resources. I urge you to divest my funds from weapons manufacturers, military contractors, and any third-party mutual fund or financial institutions that invest in violence, weapons, and warfare. The Weapon Free Funds tool at worldbeyondwar.org/divest is a searchable mutual fund database that can be used to find weapons-free investment options.
Sincerely, (name of client)
Here is a partial list of Canadian and U.S. companies involved in arms manufacturing:
Pratt and Whitney