With some US$95 billion worth of assets, Norway’s largest pension fund KLP has divested from 16 companies due to their ties to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
“[T]here is an unacceptable risk that the excluded companies are contributing to the abuse of human rights in situations of war and conflict through their links with the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank,” the fund said in a statement announcing the move.
KLP reached this decision from conducting human rights due diligence on its investments, which considered the human rights risks at the companies identified in the 2020 UN report as having operations linked to the Israeli settlements.
The exclusion comes weeks after Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, managed by Norges Bank, pulled out of construction and real estate companies in the Palestinian territories. The United Nations recognizes the occupation of the West Bank as illegal.
“KLP should be applauded for taking this step towards peace and against occupation,” said UNI Global Union General Secretary Christy Hoffman. “Investors should not be profiting from human rights violations like the illegal confiscation and settlement of Palestinian land. Investors, like companies, must conduct human rights due diligence on their investments. They must recognise that the companies identified by the UN as enabling the settlements are unacceptably intertwined with human rights abuses and act following KLP’s example.”
Previously, UNI, along with the ITUC, had called on Norges to ensure its investments do not support practices illegal under international law or contributing to human rights violations. UNI has also adopted resolutions committing the global union and its members to the cause of peace and justice between Israel and Palestine. The resolutions, approved at its World Congresses, specifically highlight the need to end all economic support for the illegal settlements in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2334 of 2016.
KLP’s divestment is part of a broader commitment to human rights. Last month, it announced divesting from Adani Ports due to the Indian logistics company’s links to the Myanmar military government.