The decision by the UK’s largest charity to sell its holdings in BAe Systems and Rolls Royce is revealed in Campaign Against Arms Trade’s annual Clean Investment survey, published this week.
A Cancer Research UK spokesman would not say why the charity had got rid of its 30,000 shares in BAe Systems, the country’s largest arms exporter, but said the charity was reassessing its investment in arms as part of its review of ethical policy.
CAAT spokesman Mike Lewis said arms investments had declined across the sector. “We’re very pleased ethical investment policies are being put in place, largely because of the increased profile of ethical investment funds,” he said.
But he named Leukaemia Research Fund and the RNLI as the most persistent offenders in arms investment.
The RNLI said Charity Commission guidance decreed the organisation had to invest in a way that delivered the best return on investments.
Douglas Osborne, chief executive of Leukaemia Research Fund, said its investment strategy, which includes a £1.3m stake in Smiths Group, precluded tobacco.