Norway’s Storebrand divests from four companies profiting from Israeli occupation and settlement
Financial services firm with $100 billion in assets divested from Israel Discount Bank, GE, First Solar and DXC Technology
Companies with operations in conflict-affected areas are exposed to a higher risk of involvement in Human Rights violations. Conflict-affected areas are identified by the presence of armed conflict and widespread violence. Some of the worst Human Rights abuses involving business occur amid conflict over the control of territory or resources and where central Governmental control is weak or has broken down completely. We expect companies we invest to exercise extreme caution when operating in these areas so that their operations do not contribute to the conflict. Therefore, we carry out a screening of all the companies we invest in and engage with them so that we do not contribute with our investments to human rights abuses and instability.
Palestinian territories and Western Sahara
During 2020, Storebrand is carrying out a screening to identify companies with operations in occupied Palestinian territories and occupied Western Sahara. These companies may contribute and profit from the occupation by supplying security and surveillance services and equipment. They may also profit from the maintenance, development and expansion of settlements by providing construction materials and services or directly financing the construction of settlements or by being involved in the exploitation of natural resources without the consent of the occupied people.
Despite international attention on these conflicts, none of them seems near a resolution. According to reports from the UN and several Human Right organizations, the occupying powers in these territories continue expanding their occupation which in turn results in continuing violations of human rights. In addition, attention to these issues by companies and investors continues to be low. Therefore, we have decided to make conflict areas one of our top engagement priorities.
Storebrand has screened its investment universe for companies having operations in occupied territories. 44 companies so far have been identified as allegedly having operations. Of the 44, Storebrand had already divested from some of them previously, whereas others do not have or no longer have operations in these territories. Storebrand has been or is still engaging with those companies that have verified operations in occupied territories as reflected in the table below. As a result of this dialogue, Storebrand has divested from four companies so far in 2020.