Municipal and health Norway’s own pension company, KLP, has made careful deliberations after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights published a list of companies with activities linked to the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.
“Our assessment is that there is unacceptable risk that the excluded companies contribute to violations of human rights in war and conflict situations through their affiliation with the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. This is supported by the rules concerning occupation in the Hague Regulations and the fourth Geneva Convention,” says senior analyst with KLP Kapitalforvaltning, Kiran Aziz.
KLP has clear expectations to companies we are invested in, and these exclusions are based on due diligence. In addition, the due diligence principle is at the core of the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
“This entails that the companies have a responsibility to respect and protect human rights in all countries in which they operate, regardless of whether the state itself complies with these rights. Conflicts can entail a particularly high risk of human rights abuses. Companies that have operations in conflict areas should therefore exercise particular caution to avoid becoming involved in violations of human rights and protect vulnerable individuals,” Aziz says.
Previously the Myanmar-affiliated company Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone have also been excluded from KLP’s investments as a result of due diligence.
Exclusions on the West Bank valued at NOK 275 million
The exclusion includes companies involved in banking, construction, infrastructure and telecommunications on the West Bank. KLP has sold shares and bonds in these companies worth NOK 275 million.
“The banks have been excluded because we believe that by funding residential construction, they contribute to the development, expansion or maintenance of the settlements. Construction companies have been excluded due to their deliveries of materials and infrastructure. Exclusion of telecommunications companies has been done because communication services are considered basic infrastructure for modern societies,” Aziz says.
In addition, four individual assessments have been carried out for companies that supply energy, communications and surveillance services. KLP has decided to exclude all four.
“These services include access to electricity and fuel, and surveillance of the settlements’ external borders. We believe these services play an important role in maintaining and extending the settlements,” Aziz says.
Have attempted dialogue
KLP has contacted all of the affected companies to engage in dialogue, and has pursued dialogue due to lacking responses.
“We always want to engage in dialogue with the companies in order to influence them through our ownership. When our influence failed to yield results, we chose to exclude the companies,” Aziz says.
These companies have been excluded from KLP and the KLP funds on the West Bank as of June 2021
- ALSTOM SA
- SHTROM GROUP LTD
- ELECTRA LTD
- BANK HAPOALIM BM
- BANK LEUMI LE-ISRAEL
- FIRST INTL BANK ISRAEL
- ISRAEL DISCOUNT BANK-A
- MIZRAHI TEFAHOT BANK LTD
- ALTICE EUROPE NV
- BEZEQ THE ISRAELI TELECOM CO
- CELLCOM ISRAEL LTD
- PARTNER COMMUNICATIONS CO
- DELEK GROUP LTD
- ENERGIX-RENEWABLE ENERGIES
- PAZ OIL CO LTD
- MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS INC