Emmanuel holds the most investments in arms manufacturing companies of any Cambridge college, totalling almost £2.9mDaniel Gayne

Investments in arms manufacturing companies by Cambridge colleges total over £6.5m, new data from Freedom of Information requests has shown.

Out of the 20 colleges who responded, five were found to hold investments in the arms industry, in corporations including BAE Systems, United Technologies, Airbus SE and Lockheed Martin.

Emmanuel College holds the largest amount, with nearly £2.9m invested in two arms companies, Airbus SE and United Technologies – Airbus SE was excluded from the Norwegian Government Pension Fund in 2016 due to its nuclear weapons production.

Trinity College holds the second highest investments in the sector, totalling nearly £2.5m, in eight companies: BAE Systems, Caterpillar Inc, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Textron and Thales Group. It further holds more than £3.2m in tobacco companies, including Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, Altria, and Imperial Brands, all of which have been excluded from the Norwegian Government Pension Fund.

A spokesperson for the college said: “Trinity’s core aim is the provision of an environment that offers an excellent education and the capacity for high-calibre research. As a charitable institution, Trinity ploughs all income received from its investments into education and research, and the maintenance of the College’s historic buildings and library collections for future generations.”

Demilitarise Cambridge, a new campaign which seeks to end the University’s links with arms companies, commented: “Trinity’s links to BAE are an affront; they are neither virtuous nor noble.” They also called for Emmanuel College to “take steps to immediately divest all of the £2,891,021 it holds in these companies, and put in place measures to prevent subsequent investment in arms companies.”

Darwin holds the largest investments in British arms company BAE Systems, with over £320k in holdings.

Emmanuel and Darwin Colleges did not respond to requests for comment.

BAE Systems has a weapons contract with Saudi Arabia. In 2014, it signed a £4.4bn deal with the Saudi Arabian government to provide 72 fighter jets to the state. The company has, however, consistently denied complicity in reported war crimes in Yemen.

On Friday morning, posters condemning alleged links between Cambridge and BAE Systems were flyposted around CambridgeJess Ma
The posters were posted on Pembroke Street, and by Sidney SussexCatherine Lally

Lockheed Martin, a global aerospace and defence company, has produced weapons apparently found to be used by coalition allies Saudi Arabia in Yemen. A significant portion of its revenue comes from the US government and Department of Defense contracts.

Ameen Nemer, a UK-based human rights activist originally from Awamiyah, in Saudi Arabia, told Varsity: “Without providing the regime with arms, the regime wouldn’t continue or even launch the war in Yemen in the first place.”

Selwyn College previously held £532k worth of investments in General Electric – listed in 2016 as the 36th-largest arms producing and military servicing production company by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute – but told Varsity that these have recently been sold, in line with its ban on the direct investments in the arms sector.


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In their investment strategy, Lucy Cavendish also has a ban on investments in arms companies, while Darwin has a ban on investments in tobacco industries.

Demilitarise Cambridge said of today’s revelations: “Cambridge’s links to BAE and other arms companies undermine the values that we claim to hold, and ought to hold, as a place of learning and contribution to the world.”

They added: “We call on all colleges - particularly those implicated in the arms trade - to commit to changing their practices. This starts with ending these partnerships, and acknowledging the depth of past facilitation and condoning of global violence.”

Most Cambridge colleges do not have explicit policies on not investing in weapons manufacturing companies. Several have claimed that Charity Commission rules, which ensure that they must maximise returns, have made it difficult to establish a more ethically-conscious investment policy.

  • Updated, 3:15pm 9th November 2018: This article was uploaded with photos  of posters referencing arms manufacturing company BAE Systems, which had been flyposted on Friday morning. Cambridge has said “BAE Systems is not a member of Cambridge Service Alliance.”

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