FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 25, 2012
Press Contact: Anna Baltzer, We Divest Campaign, firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Rights Advocates Congratulate Friends Fiduciary Corporation for Divestment Breakthrough as the Quaker Investment Firm Sheds Hewlett Packard and Veolia Environment
Friends Fiduciary Corporation (FFC), a non-profit, socially responsible investment firm holding over $200 million in assets and handling investments for over 250 Quaker meetings, schools, organizations, trusts, and endowments around the U.S., has announced that it has dropped the French multinational corporation Veolia Environment and American company Hewlett Packard (HP) from their portfolios following requests from Quakers concerned by the companies’ involvement in the Israeli occupation. At last count, FFC held investments of more than $250,000 in HP and more than $140,000 in Veolia. The We Divest Campaign targeting financial giant TIAA-CREF, the largest coalition-led divestment campaign for Palestinian rights in the US, applauds FFC on its decision.
According to Jeffrey W. Perkins, the Executive Director of the FFC, HP was removed because it provides information technology consulting services to the Israeli Navy. Veolia Environment was removed because of “environmental and social concerns.”
FFC’s decision to drop these companies comes just a few months after the FFC likewise dropped Caterpillar Inc. based on the peace testimony of Friends that Caterpillar “would neither confirm nor deny the extent or type of modifications to equipment sold to the Israeli military.” Caterpillar Inc., HP and Veolia have all been the targets of international campaigning because of their involvement in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, including as part of the We Divest Campaign. TIAA-CREF recently dropped Caterpillar Inc from their social choice funds, after MSCI, a leading investment adviser, de-listed Caterpillar as a socially responsible investment. Both MSCI and TIAA-CREF continue to designate Veolia and Hewlett Packard as socially responsible investments.
Rabbi Alissa Wise, We Divest Campaign National Coordinator said:
Friends Fiduciary is a role model to all mission-based corporations and institutions, seeking to align their values with their investments. We congratulate Friends Fiduciary for its leadership and moral integrity in engaging with companies, and then screening out companies that fail to meet Quaker standards for social responsibility. We hope this will inspire TIAA-CREF to follow suit and drop Veolia and HP from their social choice funds.
Riham Barghouti, We Divest National Coordinating Committee member said:
This decision by FFC comes in the wake of global pressure as part of the Palestinian civil society call for boycotts and divestment campaigns against companies profiting from the Israeli occupation. Veolia has been targeted since November 2008 due its provision of infrastructure services to illegal settlements, including the Jerusalem Light Rail. Local municipalities across Europe and Australia have decided not to award Veolia contracts worth at least $12 billion following BDS campaigns. Such campaigns are now underway here in the US as well. Campaigns targeting Hewlett Packard are calling on this U.S. high-tech multinational company to stop supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine, as well as Israeli war crimes and human rights violations, and to pull out of its biometric ID projects which facilitate ethnic segregation and discrimination.
_______________________________________________________________________ The We Divest Campaign is a national coalition initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace in July 2010 and includes the American Friends Service Committee, Adalah-NY, Grassroots International, the US Palestinian Community Network, and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.