08-03-2011 | Belgian bank Dexia has been excluded from the Triodos sustainable investment universe because of its ongoing financing of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Dexia in Israel
Dexia Israel Bank (DIB), a subsidiary of Dexia, has financed Israeli settlements in the past. In response to shareholder and stakeholder pressure, DIB stopped new loans to Israeli settlements in June 2008. There are also indications that current loans are being withdrawn, although the longest maturity loan in the portfolio will not end until 2017. DIB’s actions have caused uproar in Israel and a regional council major in southern Israel called for a DIB boycott.
Despite the freeze on new loans and withdrawal by DIB, the bank still has loans outstanding to the Municipality of Jerusalem. Jerusalem lies at the heart of the occupied territories and since 1967 East Jerusalem has been under Israeli government rule. Settlements have been established for Jewish Israeli occupants only and settlers receive substantial financial benefits, as well as access to land and natural resources in the disputed territory. By financing the municipality, DIB loans are potentially being used to finance human rights abuses against Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
Dexia is aware of its potential involvement in violating United Nations (UN) resolutions and Triodos has had extensive dialogue with the company on the issue, but to date it has not expressed its intention to withdraw or earmark its finance activities to the Municipality of Jerusalem. Nor has it indicated any intention to otherwise ensure that DIB financing does not contribute to violations of human rights in the disputed territories. For these reasons, Dexia has been excluded from the Triodos sustainable investment universe.
Human rights, Palestine and the United Nations
The UN is mandated to promote and protect human rights; the intergovernmental United Nations Human Rights Council and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights lead global human rights efforts and speak out in the face of human rights violations worldwide. A number of UN resolutions have condemned the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a breach of human rights. Any collaboration with Israeli parties which contravenes UN resolutions is reason for exclusion from the Triodos sustainable investment universe.
Note: The issues explored in this article are relevant for sustainable investments on the stock market. Triodos Bank believes that our socially responsible investments are a powerful means of promoting our values and working for greater sustainability, while enabling us to offer a complete range of attractive investment options to customers who choose to invest on the stock market.