Have you ever wondered what banks really do with your hard-earned cash or how the money in your retirement fund accumulates? Many banks use your money to finance and invest in multinational companies. Do you know which ones are lurking in your investment portfolio?
According to a survey conducted by TNS-Infratest, the world’s second largest market research company, 60% of Germans said they would change their bank if they found out that it participated in food commodity speculation or invested in arms producers. Would you?
In December 2012, Facing Finance e.V. began research in cooperation with partners and organizations from around the globe to determine which companies and investors profited from human rights violations, environmental destruction, corruption, and controversial arms deals. The result was the annual production of the “Dirty Profits” report, which informs investors, financial institutions, and the public of the harmful effects that many investments have on humanity and the environment.
How does it work?
Facing Finance monitors publicly accessible information sources (such as media reports, court rulings, financial databases, and NGO-studies) for violations of international norms then looks for financial ties to public and private financial institutions and multinational companies in order to identify those that are profiting from corruption, controversial arms deals, human rights violations, and environmental destruction.
Today, the reports have influenced many banks and investors to discuss, adopt, and implement better investment policies. They have also helped to spur negotiations with major German financial institutions regarding investment policy improvements and debates within German parliament in support of laws banning investments in cluster munition producers (manufacture of cluster munitions is banned under international treaty and German law, however, investment in CM producers abroad still poses a major threat to civilians and international peace efforts). The reports also support ongoing discussions aimed at revoking tax breaks from certain German pension funds, “Riestersparpläne,” that profit from investments in companies that are involved in corruption, controversial arms deals, human rights violations, and or environmental destruction.
Our goal at Facing Finance e.V. is to achieve the transparent and sustainable use of financial resources through education, awareness, and accountability. We do not make a profit and all donations go 100% towards our publication costs so that we can continue to distribute our reports free of charge.
Thus far, we have raised a total of €15,000 towards the 2014 edition of "Dirty Profits." In order to meet our funding goals, we need just €10,000 more. A simple €10 donation covers the publication costs for a single issue of "Dirty Profits" and brings us one step closer to this goal.
Will you help us?