Wespath excludes 39 companies from portfolio on human rights grounds

With external research provided by Sustainalytics, Wespath identified 39 companies for exclusion from its portfolios under its Human Rights Guideline.

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20 January 2016

Wespath - Human Rights Guideline

Companies face many business risks when operating in regions torn by violence, conflict and the abuse of human rights. These risks include:

  • Difficulty in providing effective security to workers, local inhabitants and facilities
  • Operational disruptions as a result of violence and local actions
  • Legal challenges including charges of complicity and breaches of international law
  • Loss of reputation and brand value
  • Geo-political controversies

In response to these risks, the Human Rights guideline states...[text of guideline follows]

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20 January 2016

Westpath - Human Rights

Author: Wespath

The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits—(General Board) through its Wespath Investment Management division—seeks to protect human rights through its comprehensive sustainable investment strategy...

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19 January 2016

Not divesting Israel - GBPHB Human Rights Guidelines and Management of Excessive Sustainability Risk

Author: General Board Pension and Health Benefits

The General Board is responding to concerns expressed by our participants and others regarding recent reports that we have excluded from investment the securities of five Israeli banks. The General Board is not divesting from Israel. We remain invested in approximately 18 Israeli companies that meet our investment criteria.

This action was in line with a broader excessive sustainability risk policy approved by our Board of Directors in 2014 and implemented throughout 2015. The guideline developed from this policy applies to 14 countries and areas around the world, including the Middle East. We integrated research from an independent and objective third party expert to identify the 39 companies subject to our guideline. Complete details and FAQs are on our website—they provide the intent and scope of our human rights guideline and the implementation results for 2015.

Our actions are fully aligned with resolutions adopted by The United Methodist Church General Conference in 2012.

For complete information and background, please read the facts about our Human Rights Guideline:

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12 January 2016

US church pension fund puts 5 Israeli banks on an investment blacklist over links to settlement building

Author: Rick Gladstone, New York Times

The pension board of the United Methodist Church — one of the largest Protestant denominations in the United States, with more than seven million members — has placed five Israeli banks on a list of companies that it will not invest in for human rights reasons, the board said in a statement...The Israeli banks on the United Methodist Church’s list — Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank and Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot — were among 39 companies from several countries that have been excluded from the pension board’s portfolio for not meeting its Human Rights Investment Policy guideline...

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