Trinity has €2.5m invested in armaments industry

College’s €222m investment portfolio also includes stakes in Apple, Nestlé, Amazon and Coca Cola

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) have revealed that College’s endowment fund includes approximately €2.5 million of equity investments in the armaments and defence industries.

The investments include €876,800 invested in Raytheon Technologies, €721,500 in Lockheed Martin, €245,900 in Honeywell International, €169,500 in BAE Systems, €111,000 in Airbus, €63,400 in L3 Harris and €15,900 in Thales. These companies have been connected to airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition in the ongoing war in Yemen according to research by Bellingcat, the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, Yemeni Archive and Forensic Architecture.

The FOI request was made by Trinity student László Molnárfi on behalf of campaign group Students 4 Change. College’s response included a complete list of its equity investments (investments in company stocks) as of 31 December 2020.

According to the documents, College’s total endowment fund stands at approximately €222.8 million, of which 66.5%, or €148.2 million, takes the form of equity investments.

Another 14.6%, or €32.5 million, is held in infrastructure investment funds; €39.8 million (17.9%) is invested in real estate, primarily commercial property; and the university also holds €16.5 million (7.4%) in cash, deposited with Barclays and KBC banks.

The equity investments are split between two funds, both managed by Irish Life Investment Managers (ILIM). The first is a €79.3 million investment in a fund connected to the MSCI World index, which is calculated by investment firm MSCI. The second is a €68.9 million “global high yield equity” fund created specifically for Trinity by ILIM. The university’s investment in both funds specifically does not include tobacco companies or fossil fuel extraction. Between the two funds, Trinity has more than 1700 individual equity investments, though there is crossover between the companies each fund invests in.

Some of College’s largest investments include €3.7 million in Apple, €3.4 million in Johnson & Johnson, €2.8 million in Procter & Gamble, €2.75 million in Nestlé, €2.6 million in Microsoft, €2.3 million in Amazon, €1.8 million in Coca Cola, €1.7 million in Alphabet (parent company of Google), €1.3 million in Pepsico, €1.1 million in Facebook, and €1.1 million in Toyota.

Trinity’s investments have been the source of controversy in the past, with student activists successfully lobbying College to divest from fossil fuels in 2016. A motion calling for a Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) referendum on lobbying Trinity to divest from armaments production received a majority of votes at TCDSU Council in April, but failed to receive the required two-thirds support of attendant representatives. In March, Molnárfi proposed a referendum on a formal TCDSU stance against the presence of the US military at Shannon Airport, which also failed to receive the necessary votes at the union’s Council.

A previous version of this article said that TCDSU had, in April, voted on whether or not to adopt a policy against Trinity’s investment in the armaments industry. In fact, the union voted on whether or not to hold a referendum on the same issue. Trinity News apologises for the error.

Jack Kennedy

Jack Kennedy is the Editor-in-chief of the 68th edition of Trinity News. He is a Computer & Electronic Engineering graduate, and a former Assistant Editor, Online Editor, and Deputy Online Editor.