SSF Engagement Initiatives

Open letter to index providers on controversial weapons exclusions

SSF coordinates an investor initiative for an "Open letter to global index providers" to exclude controversial weapons* from mainstream indices.

Become a signatory by filling in this form!


Image of the "Broken Chair" by Swiss artist Daniel Berset in Geneva, symbolizing the victims of landmines and cluster munitions.

Detailed description

A number of international conventions prohibit or restrict the development, production and use of controversial weapons. Some countries have gone further by implementing legislation against direct and/or indirect financing of such weapons. For institutional and individual investors, excluding companies involved in controversial weapons has become standard practice or expectation. However, mainstream indices continue to include such companies. This is causing a problem for active and passive investors who may be subject to extra tracking error and/or additional costs, or unable to invest in controversial weapons-free solutions.

Swiss investors, therefore, have launched this investor initiative and SSF is coordinating the collection of signatories who also support the idea that index providers should remove companies involved in controversial weapons from mainstream indices.

Launched in August 2018, this initiative has now collected 176 signatories from 20 different countries representing USD 9.7 trillion. Further signatories are welcome and can sign up using this signatory form.

During the week of 4 February 2019, SSF began engaging with large index providers, sharing with them background on the initiative, a list of current co-signatories and an invitation to enter into discussions. Throughout 2019, SSF and signatories of the initiative entered into numerous discussions with different index providers, many of which have been open and receptive to discussions. The signatories and SSF will continue discussions in 2020, further engaging with index providers to recommend solutions that ultimately help investors avoid investments in controversial weapons companies.

The letter is on Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF) letterhead, as SSF holds the coordination role of the letter and subsequent actions, and is signed by institutions only (i.e. no names of individuals).

 Latest figures (as of 16 December 2020)

  • 176 signatories
  • USD 9.7 trillion

The initiative is also posted on the PRI Collaboration Platform where PRI signatories can find further information.

*cluster munitions, anti-personnel mines, biological and chemical weapons, as well as nuclear weapons which are produced for countries that have not signed the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

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