How to Divest

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has a long history of engagement in divestment campaigns and in responsible investment actions for peace and civil rights issues worldwide, including corporate accountability campaigns in the anti-apartheid movement, farmworkers' rights campaigns, the movement for nuclear disarmament, peace and anti-militarism campaigns, and struggles against mass incarceration and for the rights of immigrants.

As an investor, AFSC invests only in companies providing goods and services which people and peacetime industry need for everyday life. It refrains from investment in the military industries, major defense contractors, nuclear power, prisons, fossil fuels, land speculation, and certain products such as alcohol or tobacco.

The Economic Activism Program provides organizers and investors with tools and training for campaigns that face corporate power, expose corporate complicity in state violence and violations of human rights, help corporations move away from such harmful practices, and support the creation of public and transparent standards for corporate behavior.

Divestment is an act of tracing our own financial links to war, oppression, and exploitation, to use them as leverage to expose, isolate, and withdraw from these harmful social structures. As far as companies go, once they are exposed and confronted with the potential controversy, reputational, and regulatory risks, many of them respond to engagement efforts by stakeholders, develop a human rights policy, or even step away from additional controversial activities.

We advocate divestment from all forms of state violence. On Investigate, we offer information and divestment recommendations on three such institutions: the prison industry, military occupations, and border militarization. Each of these issues is a priority for AFSC’s long-standing work where we have detected a lack of available information about the roles and involvement of corporations. Different stakeholders in the companies listed on our database may choose to use different strategies to help companies divest and withdraw from these activities: they may engage with the companies, shame them, work with them to create better due diligence mechanisms and human rights policies, put consumer pressure on them, file shareholder resolutions, or dump their stocks.

We urge all companies listed on our database to divest from these harmful activities, and we hope that their consumers, investors, and business partners will use this information to demand that the mentioned companies make that transition, and help them in this process.

We urge responsible investors to refrain from owning stocks or bonds of the companies on our divestment list. Based on our assessment using the criteria detailed below, these companies are consistently and knowingly involved in particularly harmful violations, their involvement is significant to the continuation of the violation, and they are unresponsive to stakeholder engagement. We conclude that these companies would not respond to shareholder activism on these issues at this time, which makes the ownership of these securities a moral liability. Adding these companies to a widely-accepted human rights screen helps develop clear standards for corporate respect for human rights for other companies in the same industries, and in some cases pushes companies to become more responsive.

Our Divestment Recommendation and Criteria

The Investigate database is two-tiered - from our general list of companies, some are highlighted as targets for divestment. This recommendation is based on an assessment of three criteria: the salience of the human rights violation, the company's responsibility for the violation, and the company's responsiveness. These are explained below in detail.

Each criterion is evaluated on a 1-5 point scale, from least to most severe, leading to an overall score of 3-15 points for each company. We evaluate the companies in our database separately on their involvement in all three issues we track: the prison industry, military occupations, and border militarization. Companies that receive more than 10 points on any one issue become part of our divestment recommendation.

  • Salience - the severity of the human rights violation and how harmful it is. Based on the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights Reporting Framework, it measures the severity of the negative impact of a company’s activities and/or business relationships. Salience does not measure the extent of the company’s stake in the said violation, nor its impact on the company’s revenue, only the degree to which this violation is harmful to people. Salience is also adjusted by measuring the scale and scope of the violence.
  1. Symbolic: Discrimination
  2. Structural: Exploitation or sporadic indirect violence
  3. Indirect: Large-scale systemic indirect physical violence or sporadic direct violence
  4. Direct: Systemic direct physical violence
  5. Severe: Large scale and severe direct physical violence
  • Responsibility - the degree of the company’s involvement in the human rights violation. It is assessed on a case by case basis and includes both the degree to which the company’s products and services contribute to the violation and the degree to which the company is knowingly and intentionally linked to the violation. For example, supplying custom-made crucial equipment or services would constitute a more significant involvement than the supply of an off-the-shelf product.
  1. Normalize: The company’s relationships link to the violation.
  2. Capitalize: The company’s activities, services, or products link to the violation.
  3. Support: The company’s activities, services, or products exacerbate or contribute to the violation, or deliberately support it.
  4. Facilitate: The company knowingly and intentionally provides products, activities, or services which exacerbate or enable the violation.
  5. Enforce: The company’s activities cause the violation.
  • Responsiveness - the company’s responsiveness to multi-stakeholder engagement as well as the continuity of its involvement in the harmful activities. All companies listed on Investigate have full knowledge of the impact of their actions. Their responsiveness is assessed by monitoring the company’s attempts at dialogue and remediation as well as changes in corporate policies or activities.
  1. Responsive: The company announced it would fully withdraw from the violation.
  2. Responding: The company is changing its behavior, but not enough.
  3. Dialogue: There is a dialogue or a possibility of a dialogue with the company about this violation, with a potential for improvement.
  4. Nonresponsive: The company is unlikely to respond to stakeholders’ concerns.
  5. Resistant: The company has not responded to public stakeholders’ concerns regarding the violation.

Our research and recommendation are updated regularly with changes in companies’ operations and responsiveness. Since the inception of the Investigate database in 2011, we removed from it more than a dozen companies. We hope that our database continues to shrink as companies divest from state violence.

Our divestment list is neither a “black-list” nor a boycott list. We use it to advocate for a specific course of action, and we recognize that different stakeholders might have different opportunities to help promote the same goals. Please contact us if you need assistance in tailoring specific screening recommendations for different investors, asset managers, or investment consultants.

Divestment from the Prison Industry

We hope that the research presented in this publication will help investors refrain from any investment in the prison industry unless they intend to use it for corporate engagement and shareholder activism to help companies change their policies and transition out of this industry.

The American Friends Service Committee does not invest in any company that owns, operates, or manages prisons, regardless of the size of that business or its centrality to the core activities of the company. Additionally, we avoid investments in companies whose primary business involves the design or construction of prisons.

Our Prison section profiles the main companies involved in ongoing human rights violations as part of the incarceration industry. Among those companies, we recommend divestment from:

  • Companies that own, operate, or manage prisons, jails, or detention centers around the world.
  • Companies whose primary business is in the prison industry.
  • Other companies with significant involvement in this industry, that prove to be unresponsive to public and investor pressure.

This list is continuously reviewed and adjusted based on these companies’ operations and responsiveness.

Divestment from the Occupation Industry

The American Friends Service Committee has worked with Palestinians and Israelis for peace and justice for over 70 years. Our investment policy excludes companies that provide products or services, including financial services, to Israeli or Palestinian military bodies that are used to facilitate or undertake violent acts against civilians or violations of international law, or to Israeli or Palestinian organizations or groups that are used to facilitate or undertake violent acts against civilians or violations of international law.  

AFSC’s investment policy responds to human rights violations by both sides, but the Investigate database focuses only on corporate involvement in Israeli violations. This asymmetry is a consequence of the inherent asymmetry of this conflict: the provision of any form of support to a Palestinian armed group or political party is illegal under US anti-terrorism laws. In other words, existing legal structures enforce strict sanctions and already prevent meaningful involvement of public corporations in Palestinian violations.

Over the last several years, several large corporations were taken off our divestment list or altogether from the Investigate database, after they have changed their activities on the ground. This includes, for example, CRH, SodaStream, Veolia Environnement, HP Inc., Orange, preceded by Unilever, Assa Abloy, and the privately-owned companies Keter Plastic and Barkan Wineries. Other companies, which have changed or announced a change in their West Bank business operations, remain under close observation: Caterpillar, Cemex, and Fosun International.

View our divestment list

A US healthcare company. Provides community corrections including residential re-entry programs. Has detained small numbers of unaccompanied immigrant youth.

An Irish consulting and professional services firm. Manages hiring process for US Customs and Border Protection Services (CBP) and provides operational support for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

One of the largest construction and real estate companies in Israel. Has been involved in multiple construction projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli investment firm. Its subsidiary Energix Renewable Energy has projects in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights. Its subsidiary Amot Investments owns an industrial building in the occupied West Bank.

A French multinational power and transportation company. Involved in the Jerusalem light rail project, which is partially built in occupied East Jerusalem.

A Dutch multinational telecommunications company. Its Israeli subsidiary HOT has facilities in and provides telecommunication services to most illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

A US-based company that provided food service, facilities management, and uniforms globally. Provides food and other logistical services to prisons and uses prison labor.

One of the largest construction and real estate companies in Israel. Carried out residential and infrastructure projects in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights. Involved in the construction of military checkpoints, the West Bank separation wall, and the Ofer military prison. Operates two quarries in the West Bank.

A private prison company, owned by CoreCivic. Owns and manages private halfway houses in Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming.

An Israeli construction and real estate company. Has been involved in multiple construction projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A British multinational defense and aerospace manufacturer that develops weapons and combat vehicles for ground, air, and naval warfare, specializing in the design of avionic electronic warfare systems. BAE has worked in cooperation with Lockheed Martin and Rafael to produce and market the naval Protector drone used to maintain the siege of Gaza along the Mediterranean coast.

One of Israel's largest banks. Financed the construction of housing projects and has branches in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

One of Israel's largest banks. Financed the construction of housing projects and has branches in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

An Israeli bank specializing in real estate financing and investing. Financed the construction of housing projects and has branches in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Israel's largest telecommunications company. Has infrastructure throughout the occupied Palestinian territory and Golan Heights. Services all illegal settlements as well as military bases and checkpoints.

One of the largest military companies in the world. Makes fighter jets and missile systems used by the Israeli air force against Palestinian civilians. Designed a system to surveil and monitor the US-Mexico border.

An Israeli construction firm specializing in large-scale metal infrascructure projects. Its subsidiary Pelegas has a facility in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank. Its subsidiary Carmor designed an armored vehicle specifically for the needs of the Israeli military occupation.

A US multinational manufacturer of heavy engineering machinery. Its equipment is customized for the use of the needs of the Israeli military occupation and is used in home demolitions, the construction of the West Bank and Gaza walls, and the construction of illegal settlements.

Israel's largest provider of cellular phone services. Has hundreds of antennas and other communications facilities in the occupied Palestinian territory and Golan Heights. Provides telecommunication services to multiple illegal settlements and military bases.

A Mexican multinational manufacturer and distributor of cement, concrete, and other construction materials. Has factories in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights. Its products have been used to build multiple military checkpoints and illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The world’s largest private prison corporation. Owns and manages over 100 correctional, detention, and other residential reentry facilities. Provides the government with other services as part of the criminal punishment system.

An Israeli multinational conglomerate of energy, automotive, insurance, and real estate companies. Operates gas stations and convenience stores in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

One of Israel's largest gas companies. Has gas stations anf convenience stores in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A US multinational IT company, born as the merger of CSC with a division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Operates the Israeli discriminatory population registry. Has a R&D center in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Israel's largest weapon company. Makes killer drones, large weapon systems, and ammunition used against civilians. Monitors walls and borders in Palestine and the US-Mexico border.

An Israeli conglomerate of infrastructure, engineering, real estate, and construction companies, involved in multiple construction and infrastructure projects in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.

An Israeli renewable energy company. Owns a solar farm in an illegal settlement industrial zone in the occupied West Bank. Developed a wind farm project in the occupied Golan Heights.

A Spanish multinational infrastructure company. Its subsidiary Broadspectrum operates a prison in Australia.

A major Israeli bank. Financed the construction of housing projects in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. Has branches in settlements.

A group of IT companies. Its subsidiary Matrix IT operates in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank. Its subsidiary TGS developed the Israeli military's command and control system.

A Chinese multinational conglomerate with real estate, healthcare, tourism, insurance, wealth management, and manufacturing businesses. Its cosmetics subsidiary AHAVA excavates minerals and operates a visitor center in the occupied West Bank.

One of Israel's largest private security firms, formerly a subsidiary of G4S. Provides security services and equipment to several projects of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, including illegal settlements, military checkpoints, the Israeli police and prison system.

The world's largest private security company. Owns private prisons in Australia, South Africa, UK. Provides governments with multiple other punishment-related services. Operates the Israeli National Police Academy.

Formerly LRAD, A US company specializing in equipment for long range acoustic hailing and mass notification. Its weaponized Long Range Acoustic Device is used by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank.

One of the largest military contractors in the world. Provides weapons and munitions used by the Israeli air force against Palestinian civilians. Involved in monitoring the US-Mexico border and surveilling immigrant communities inside the United States.
 

A US multinational conglomerate in the manufacturing, energy, and healthcare industries, among others. Its aviation division manufactures engines for military aircraft Israel uses against civilians.

A US multinational oil & gas company. Extracts oil in the occupied Golan Heights.

A US construction company. Constructed and performs maintenance on the US-Mexico border fence.

The world's largest cement producer and a leader in the production of aggregates. Operates quarries and manufacturing facilities in the occupied West Bank. Its products have been used to build and expand illegal settlements.

One of Israel's largest banks. Financed the construction of housing projects in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. Has branches in illegal settlements.

A Dutch multinational real estate company. Its Israeli subsidiary Tahal designs sewage infrastructure for illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A US engineering and construction company. Does maintenance and repairs of the US-Mexico border fence in Arizona.

One of the world’s largest military contractors. Supplies equipment for military checkpoints in occupied Palestine and for surveillance of the US-Mexico border and immigrant communities in the US.

An Israeli development and construction company. Conducted infrastructure work in military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and involved in the Jerusalem Light Rail system in the occupied West Bank.

A US defense and aerospace company that makes fighter jets, attack helicopters, and missile systems used by the Israeli military against Palestinian civilians. Its reconnaissance aircrafts monitor the US-Mexico border.

An Israeli company specializing in high tech security systems for fences and walls. Its systems are installed in the West Bank and Gaza walls.

An Israeli real estate firm. Develops shopping malls in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Israel's largest grower and exporter of citrus and other fruits and vegetables. Owns orchards and processing facilities in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

An Israeli construction engineering company. Builds large scale infrastructure and residential projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A British facility management, consultancy, and product management company that operates private prisons and immigration detention centers in the UK.

A major Israeli bank. Financed the construction of multiple illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. Has branches in illegal settlements. Discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

An Israeli development and construction company. Constructs residential and commercial projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A US data and telecommunications equipment manufacturer. Its equipment is installed in illegal settlements and the separation wall in the occupied West bank, and it is used by the Israeli military, police, and prison service.

A major Israeli bank specializing in credit for local municipalities. Financed the construction of public projects in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. Has branches in settlements.

A US fossil fuel company that extracts gas off the shores of Gaza Strip, exacerbating the Gaza blockade and potentially involved in pillaging.

One of the largest military companies in the world. Develops missile systems consistently used by the Israeli air force against Palestinian civilians; provides drones and radars used to monitor the US-Mexico border; and develops databases and systems for Homeland Security to profile, surveil and monitor immigrant communities.

A US investment and asset management firm specializing in distressed companies. Bought Veolia's operations in Israel, including a dump site in the occupied West Bank and a wastewater facility that serves illegal settlements.

A U.S.-based high-tech surveillance company. U.S. immigration authorities use its systems to surveil and target immigrants and to manage mass immigration raids. Its predictive policing tools are used by law enforcement agencies and by Israeli security forces.

One of the largest Israeli providers of cellular phone services. Has hundreds of antennas and other communications facilities in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights. Services illegal settlements and military bases in the occupied West Bank.

The largest gas and energy supplier in Israel. Operates gas stations in and supplies cooking gas to illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights. Part of a duopoly with exclusive rights to supply gas to the Gaza strip.

A U.S.-based multinational water company. Its Israeli subsidiary Eden Springs extracts water from the occupied Golan Heights and is headquartered in an illegal settlement there.

Israel’s third largest grocery store chain. Owns real estate and operates stores in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

One of the largest military companies in the world and the largest producer of guided missiles. Makes missile systems and munitions used against civilians in Palestine and Yemen. Its equipment is used to monitor the US-Mexico border.

An Israeli development and construction firm. Builds residential projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A British multinational outsourcing company that operates prisons and immigration jails in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

An Israeli infrastructure and construction company. Builds infrastructure and residential projects in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and has a factory a factory in a settlement. Involved in building military checkpoints and the Gaza wall.

Owns Suntech, which co-built a solar power station in occupied Syrian Golan, and produced solar panels used at Netiv Hagdud settlement in the occupied Jordan Valley

A French multinational food services and facilities management company. Operates prisons in Australia and the UK.

An Israeli company specializing in electronic monitoring, digital ID technologies, and cyber security. It owns California-based Leaders in Community Alternatives (LCA), an electronic monitoring and "community corrections" company.

A US workforce housing company that owns and partially operates ICE’s largest youth and family detention center.

The world's 2nd largest private prison company and the largest "community corrections" and e-carceration business. Owns and operates prisons and immigrant detention centers in the US and abroad. Provides the government with other services as part of the criminal punishment system.

A Canadian electronic content and information services provider. Provides its information and database service to the US government to be used for tracking and targeting immigrants and their communities.

Owns Reshef Bitahon, a private security company. Provides security services to the Ma’ale Adumim settlement in the occupied West Bank. Has office in Katzrin in the occupied Golan Heights.

A US provider of high-tech systems, products, and services to the aerospace and commercial building industries. Its subsidiary Pratt & Whitney produces the engines for military aircraft used by the Israeli air force against Palestinian civilians.

An Israeli development and construction company. Constructed parts of the separation wall and residential projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli development and construction company. Built residential projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.