Norway Sovereign Wealth Fund Dumps Firms Tied to West Bank Settlements
Posted on 05/20/2021
Norway’s massive sovereign wealth fund are excluding Shapir Engineering and Industry Ltd and Mivne Real Estate KD Ltd. for their activities associated with Israeli settlements on the West Bank. The Council on Ethics’ position is that the Israeli settlements in the West Bank have been built in violation of international law and that their existence and constant expansion causes significant harm and disadvantage to the area’s Palestinian population. According to the Norges Bank Investment Management press release, “The Executive Board has decided to exclude the company Honeys Holdings Co Ltd due to unacceptable risk that the company contributes to systematic violations of human rights, ref. the conduct-based criteria in section 3 (1) (a) of the Guidelines for the Observation and Exclusion of Companies from the Government Pension Fund Global. The decision is based on a recommendation from the Council on Ethics of 25 November 2020. The Council on Ethics has recommended Norges Bank to exclude the company after having considered workers’ rights at two factories that the company owns in Myanmar.
The Executive Board has also decided to exclude the companies Shapir Engineering and Industry Ltd and Mivne Real Estate KD Ltd due to unacceptable risk that the companies contribute to systematic violations of individuals’ rights in situations or war or conflict, ref. section 3 (1) (b) of the Guidelines for the Observation and Exclusion of Companies from the Government Pension Fund Global. The decisions are based on recommendations from the Council on Ethics of 2 November 2020 and 17 December 2020 respectively. The Council on Ethics has recommended Norges Bank to exclude the companies based on the companies’ activities associated with Israeli settlements on the West Bank.
The Executive Board has not conducted an independent assessment of all aspects of the recommendations, but is satisfied that the exclusion criteria have been fulfilled. Before deciding to exclude a company, Norges Bank shall consider whether the use of other measures, including the exercise of ownership rights, may be better suited. The Executive Board concludes that it is not appropriate to use other measures in these cases.”
Another company being excluded from Norway Government Pension Fund Global is Honeys Holdings Co Ltd, a Japanese company that designs, produces and distributes women’s clothes and accessories for women through its own brands in Japan and China. It is also a supplier to other major distributors in Japan. The company owns two garment factories in Myanmar. The Council on Ethics recommends that Honeys Holdings Co Ltd (Honeys) be excluded from investment by GPFG due to an unacceptable risk that the company is responsible for systematic human rights abuses. Honeys denies many of the alleged norm violations.
The Council on Ethics’ recommendations:
Honeys Holdings Co Ltd
Shapir Engineering and Industry Ltd
Mivne Real Estate KD Ltd