NETHERLANDS – A number of Dutch pension funds have increased their investments in nuclear weapons-related companies, the Campaign against Weapons Trade has claimed.

According to the lobbying group, the €36bn pension fund for the building sector, BpfBOUW, has invested in 20 companies involved in manufacturing or maintenance of nuclear weapons.

It also claims the €31bn metal scheme PME now has investments in 18 such companies.

It said: "A considerable number of pension funds has cleared 'nuclear weapons companies' from their investment portfolios, but, in contrast, the remaining ones have raised their stakes in companies such as EADS, BAE Systems, Boeing and Rockwell."

The lobbying group claimed the €274bn civil service scheme ABP had increased similar investments by €200m to €660m since March, with stakes of €44m in BAE, €88m in Boeing and €75m in EADS.

It also argued that some the €4bn PNO Media and the €16bn Rabobank Pensioenfonds' investments "do not square" with their exclusion policies.

A spokesman at ABP said: "We adhere to the Dutch legislation and the government's obligations under international treaties, such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"This stipulates that only the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are allowed to produce and maintain nuclear weapons.

"Most of our investments have been made in companies in those five countries, in the UK and the US in particular, as well in countries that comply with the conditions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty."

That said, he acknowledged that it was often difficult to strike a balance between moral considerations and aspects of national safety.

"However, being a civil service scheme, we follow government policy on the subject," he said.

David van As, director at BpfBOUW, also indicated that his scheme followed national and international legislation on the issue.

"As part of our exclusion policy, we don't invest in the manufacturing of anti-personnel land mines, cluster bombs, chemical or biological weapons or nuclear weapons that are manufactured in breach of the Non-Proliferation Treaty," he said.

PNO Media said that it would discuss the investments in companies mentioned in the lobbying group's report with its external adviser on exclusion policy.

Stephan Vollenbroek, spokesman at PNO Media, said: "If our investments don't square with our policy indeed, we will adjust the exclusion list if necessary."

He also stressed that it was often difficult to draw a line for excluding companies from investments.

"For example, must a company be excluded for manufacturing screws that can also be used in rockets, which in turn could also be used for nuclear weapons?" he asked.