NGO: British financial institutions complicit in Israeli war crimes

In July 2017, War on Want (WoW) published a report claiming that UK-based banks and investment companies are complicit in Israeli war crimes against Palestinians. The financial institutions cited in the report have allegedly invested in defence companies known to provide equipment to the Israeli military.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the financial institutions and defence companies accused of profiting from Palestinian rights abuse. Those companies include: Aviva; Barclays; HSBC; Investec; Legal & General Investment Management; Prudential; Schroders; Standard Life; BAE Systems; Boeing; Caterpillar; Cobham; Elbit Systems; General Dynamics; GKN; HP Enterprise; Lockheed Martin; Meggitt; Motorola Solutions; Northrop Grumman; QinetiQ; Raytheon; Rolls-Royce; Ultra Electronics; United Technologies. We received responses from: Aviva; BAE Systems; HP Enterprise; Legal & General Investment Management; Motorola Solutions. You can read the responses in full below.

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Article
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Auteur: War on Want

Human rights campaigners have declared a victory as global banking giant HSBC confirmed that it has divested completely from Israeli weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems after a year of campaign pressure. Elbit Systems is one of Israel’s largest arms manufacturers, notorious for its deadly drones used in attacks on Palestinian civilians, and marketed abroad as ‘combat proven’. The company has also manufactured white phosphorous and artillery systems that can be used for cluster munitions. Elbit Systems has been excluded from pension and investment funds around the world over the company’s involvement in supplying surveillance systems and other technology to Israel’s Separation Wall and settlements in the West Bank... HSBC’s link with Elbit Systems was first exposed in 2017 in a War on Want report on UK banks’ business dealings with companies selling military equipment and technology to Israel.  HSBC has a ‘Defence Equipment Sector Policy’ which specifies that the bank would not provide financial services to companies involved in the production or selling of cluster munitions. Campaigners pointed out that its involvement with Elbit Systems, even if ‘on behalf of clients’ as the bank long claimed, violated this policy as well as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights...

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Réponse
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Auteur: Sacha Sadan, Legal & General Investment Management

At LGIM we take our stewardship responsibilities seriously and devote significant resource to ensure our clients’ assets are protected and enhanced over time. We take an active approach to stewardship, using our scale as a global investment manager to influence company and market behaviours. In doing so, we strive to achieve positive societal impacts in the belief that it will create more sustainable long-term value. If we believe changes are needed at a company, we will communicate this privately during our engagements or publicly, if necessary, by voting against the company at annual general meetings. In 2018, LGIM has voted against UK directors more than any other large asset manager. However, it is index providers, not asset managers, who select the securities that form the indices tracked by index funds. This is true for the majority of LGIM's index fund range. Nevertheless, LGIM has gone one step further by implementing a Controversial Weapons Policy, excluding from active fixed income and equity funds and certain index funds those companies involved in the manufacture and production of cluster munitions, antipersonnel landmines, and biological and chemical weapons...

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Non-réponse
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8 October 2018

Barclays did not respond

Busines & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Barclays to respond to the allegations raised by War on Want. Barclays did not respond.

Non-réponse
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8 October 2018

Boeing did not respond

Non-réponse
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Busines & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Caterpillar to respond to the allegations raised by War on Want. Caterpillar did not respond.

Non-réponse
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8 October 2018

Cobham did not respond

Busines & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Cobham to respond to the allegations raised by War on Want. Cobham did not respond.

Article
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Non-réponse
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Busines & Human Rights Resource Centre invited General Dynamics to respond to the allegations raised by War on Want. General Dynamics did not respond.

Non-réponse
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8 October 2018

GKN did not respond

Non-réponse
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8 October 2018

HSBC did not respond

Busines & Human Rights Resource Centre invited HSBC to respond to the allegations raised by War on Want. HSBC did not respond.