Write to CPPIB to call for divestment from Israeli war crimes

Send letter to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.


Join over 70 organizations from across Canada and around the world, and 130+ individuals including former federal members of parliament Libby Davies & Jim Manly, former UN rapporteur John Dugard, Chris Hedges former NY Times bureau chief, academics, faith community leaders, labour leaders & many others who have now signed, the call to the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board with the message that Canada's public pension plan needs to divest from companies identified by the UN as supporting Israeli war crimes.

Learn more & read list of all signatories

The United Nations (UN) Database of companies complicit with human rights violations

The UN Database was released on February 12, 2020 in the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/43/71) after the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the oPt, including East Jerusalem. There are a total of 112 companies included on the UN list.  Based on CPP’s March 31, 2020 annual listing of equity holding, the CPP is invested in eight companies that are listed in the United Nations database.

UN Security Council resolution 2334 (2016) reaffirmed that settlements have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation under international law.

CPP investments that are Inthe United Nations Database:

The Canadian Pension Plan based on its March 31, 2020 report is invested in the following companies that are listed on the UN Database of business enterprises considered to be in violation of international law.

Bank Hapoalim B.M., 692,000 shares, $6 M

Bank Leumi Le-Israel B.M., 925,000 shares, $7 M

Bezeq, the Israel Telecommunication Corp Ltd., 1,541,000 shares, $2 M

Expedia Group Inc., 648,000 shares, $52 M

Israel Discount Bank Ltd., 725,000 shares, $3 M

Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd., 86,000 shares, $2 M

Shufersal Ltd., 137,000 shares, $1 M

General Mills Inc., 324,000 shares, $24 M

Note: information about the companies, verified by Who Profits, an independent Israeli research organization as per links provided with each of companies listed.

You can review the details associated with each of these companies listed in the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights report.

The CPP investments in the companies listed in the UN Database make up $97 M of $101,255 M of CPP Foreign Publicly-Traded Equity Holdings as of March 31, 2020

Given that the aggregate investments are a very small proportion of the foreign traded portfolio, it seems it is an easy move for the CPP Investment Board to divest from companies that have been named as complicit in acts contributing to the maintenance of illegal settlements.

The CPP Canadian investment portfolio

Based on our review of the CPP’s Canadian public equity holding, the portfolio is dominated by one company. It seems unusual that any company would make up over 50 percent of Canadian investments in the CPP.

This company, WSP Global, is a Canadian management and consulting firm that specializes in engineering projects. This company, according to Who Profits, is involved in the planning of the Israel railway system that crosses into the occupied West Bank and constitutes settlement infrastructure.

The CPP investment in WSP Global is 21,064,000 shares with a market value of $1,683 million as of March 31, 2020. This one investment makes up more than 53.6% of Canadian publicly traded equity holding. See Canadian Publicly-Traded Equity Holdings.

This certainly begs the question as to why the CPP has invested half of the Canadian Publicly Traded equity holding of the CPP in one company; beyond this one that is involved in illegal settlement activities.

We would ask in this regard that:

1. The CPPIB immediately take steps to diversify the Canadian equity portfolio;

2. To divest from WSP

3. Review the Canadian portfolio for any other companies that are in violation of international law

4. Put in place a transparent process to ensure that companies are vetted for violations of human rights and international law.

The concerns that we raise are in the broader context of ethical investment related to Canada’s public pension fund investment.

We ask the CPPIB to take all steps necessary to ensure that the activities of all companies included in all of its portfolio are in compliance with international law governing war crimes. We remind you that in Canada, parties that are complicit in war crimes are liable to criminal prosecution under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act,[1] including corporations.[2]


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