25 January 2010 [Copenhagen Post] – Africa Israel Investments and Elbit Systems have been added to Danske Bank’s list of companies that fail to adhere to its Socially Responsible Investment policy.
The bank’s SRI policy obliges it to examine the willingness of potential investments to follow international conventions in human rights and employment standards among others.
The two companies have been added to the list, which contains 24 companies, based on their activities in the settlement areas of the Palestinian territories. Elbit Systems reportedly provides surveillance systems to the separation wall dividing Israel and the West Bank, while Africa Israel Investments has reportedly been involved in construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
The International Court of Justice has already ruled the wall to be illegal, while UN and EU bodies have condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Thomas H. Kjærgaard, head of Danske Bank’s SRI department, told Business.dk the bank was looking out for the interests of its customers by not ‘placing their money in companies that violate international standards’.
‘It’s not in itself against national legislation to build a house, but our SRI policy goes further than that. It adheres to UN conventions and analyses them in a political context. It’s the Nordic, UN and EU position that the settlements are illegal and a hindrance to a peaceful resolution. On that basis we can state that this is a violation of our SRI policy,’ he said.
Danske Bank’s move follows a similar decision from Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global to exclude Elbit last September for its involvement in the separation barrier.