Popular Initiative ‘For a ban on financing war material manufacturers’

On the 29 of November 2020 the Swiss electorate voted on the Popular Initiative ‘For a ban on financing war material manufacturers’.


In common with most other countries, Switzerland is involved in the arms industry. Swiss companies produce weapons or parts for weapons, while Swiss investors finance war material manufacturers both here and abroad. In Switzerland, war material is subject to strict regulations, and a licence is required to manufacture and export it. Nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines are banned: they may neither be manufactured nor traded. And it is also illegal to fund the production of such weapons.

The proposal  

The initiative committee takes the view that this ban on financing does not go far enough. It wants to make it illegal to finance any form of war material, including, for example, the manufacture of assault rifles, tanks and their components. The ban will not only cover granting loans to war material manufacturers but will also make it illegal to hold shares in such companies or to invest in funds that contain their shares. The ban would affect the Swiss National Bank, foundations, the state old age and invalidity pension schemes and other pension funds. In addition, Switzerland would be required to take action around the world to enforce the ban against banks and insurance companies. The economic effects would be felt not only by arms manufacturers, but also by their suppliers, which include many small and medium-sized businesses.

Last modification 11.07.2022

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