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 industries need for everyday life. It refrains from investment in the military industries and major defense contractors, in nuclear power and fossil fuels, and in companies directly involved in other forms of state violence, such as mass incarceration, militarized borders and policing, mass surveillance, and military occupation.

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 and 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: mass incarceration, military occupations, and the border and surveillance industries. Divestment is one of the main tools of Racial Justice Investing, in support of the struggle for Black lives, for Palestinian rights, and for immigrant justice. Each of these issues is a priority for AFSC's longstanding work, where we have detected a lack of available information and a need for investors and activists to come together and hold these harmful industries to account.

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 these 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 would not respond to shareholder activism on these issues at this time, which makes the ownership of these securities a moral liability.

We urge activist groups and advocacy organizations to call on institutional investors such as universities, cities, endowments, unions, faith organizations, and public pension funds to adopt a responsible investment and procurement policy, to divest from these companies, and to stop contracting with them.

We urge responsible investment consultants and investment data providers to integrate this information as part of their ongoing analysis of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues. Adding these concerns to our human rights screens and ratings would help develop industry-wide standards for corporate respect for human rights.

Our Divestment 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 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; it measures 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 possibility of a dialogue with the company about this violation, with 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 recommendations are updated regularly with changes in companies’ operations and responsiveness. Since the inception of the Investigate database in 2011, we have removed more than 20 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 relevant for investors, and we recognize that different stakeholders might have different opportunities to 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 Border and Surveillance Industries

With the increased militarization of borders all around the world and the unprecedented expansion of state surveillance systems designed to criminalize and hunt down immigrants and refugees, ethical investors must learn to identify this newly-defined and ever-growing military-surveillance industrial complex. Community groups and organizations should call on universities, cities, unions, faith organizations, endowments, and pension funds to divest for immigrant justice and withdraw from any partnership with the surveillance high tech and security industries.

The American Friends Service Committee does not invest in companies which consistently, knowingly, and directly facilitate and enable state violence and repression, including in the industries of border security, militarized policing, and mass surveillance. Many of these companies are large military contractors or weapons companies, already excluded by AFSC's policy banning investment in military and weapons companies. Other mass surveillance firms are large high tech companies whose specific activities are carefully assessed to determine their human rights impact and the companies' responsiveness to the concerns voiced by the public, their own employees, and investors.

Divestment from the Prison Industry

The American Friends Service Committee does not invest in companies which consistently, knowingly, and directly facilitate and enable mass incarceration and detention, including those providing prison and jail services, transportation and deportation services, bond services, reentry and other "community corrections" services, electronic monitoring, or companies which use prison labor.

We encourage other institutional investors to adopt a similar policy, to expand the idea of "prison divestment" beyond the focus on private prison operators, and to help isolate the main culprits that drive the mass criminal punishment system in the U.S.

We hope that our research 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.

Divestment from the Occupation Industry

The American Friends Service Committee has worked with Palestinians and Israelis for peace and justice for over 70 years. The principles that guide AFSC's work in this area are outlined in the document "Principles for a Just and Lasting Peace between Palestinians and Israelis," which was first approved by AFSC's board of directors in 1999. These principles hold that peace will only be realized if both Palestinians' and Israelis' rights are recognized and the structural injustices between peoples have ended.

The AFSC Investment Policy states that "[i]nvestments should not be made in...companies that facilitate and enable violations of international law and human rights as part of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Syrian lands and/or as part of Israeli apartheid." The Policy refers only to Israeli violations, since all investment which might support Palestinian militant groups is already banned by U.S. law.

We see this as our response to the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS, as well as the implementation of AFSC's vision and mission statement, in line with our commitment to divest from all forms of state violence and militarism.

Using the Investigate human rights rating system, we recommend divestment from companies with a substantial, ongoing, and intentional complicity in severe violations of human rights and human rights law, including through their involvement in:

  • The Settlement Industry - companies that support and maintain illegal settlements in occupied lands.
  • Exploitation of Natural Resources - companies involved in the exploitation and plundering of natural resources in occupied lands.
  • Wall and Checkpoints - companies that support the system of severe travel restrictions Israel imposes on Palestinians.
  • Weapons and Military Equipment - companies that provide militant groups in Palestine/Israel with weapons and militarized equipment specifically designed for and consistently used in war crimes or attacks on civilians.
  • Discrimination - companies that discriminate against Palestinians in their services or goods, in the workplace, or by exploiting the unequal and discriminatory legal situation for their commercial benefit.

Over the last several years, several large corporations were taken off our divestment list or altogether from the Investigate database after they changed their activities on the ground. This includes, for example, CRH, SodaStream, Veolia Environnement, HP Inc., Orange, which followed 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.

A US air cargo and transportation company, which operates charter deportation flights for the US government

A Dutch multinational military and aerospace company whose helicopters are used to monitor the US-Mexico border.

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 provider of food service, facility management services, and uniforms globally. Provides food and other logistical services to prisons and immigration detention facilities and uses forced 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.

A US government IT contractor, which developed cloud analytics services for US immigration authorities to track and target immigrants.

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.

An Israeli digital intelligence firm that supplies law enforcement agencies, prison authorities, border security agencies, and repressive regimes around the world with hacking technologies.

A Mexican construction materials manufacturer. Has factories in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights and provides building materials to construction projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Divested from its mining activities in occupied Palestinian territory.

One of the world's largest oil and gas companies. Its subsidiary Noble Energy extracts gas off the shores of the Gaza Strip, exacerbating the Gaza blockade and potentially involved in pillaging.

A US-based financial services and bank holding company. Its subsidiary Citizens Bank has provided credit and loans to private prison corporation CoreCivic.

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 and convenience stores in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A US multinational IT company. Has a R&D center in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank and facilitates home demolitions of Palestinians.

Israel's largest military company, which 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 US-based financial services and bank holding company. Its subsidiary First Horizon Bank has provided credit and loans to private prison corporation CoreCivic.

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.

Genasys, formerly the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) Corporation, specializes in manufacturing acoustic hailing systems. Its flagship product, the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), is used by police, military personnel, and immigration authorities in the US and abroad.

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 US.

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 that constructed parts of and performed maintenance on the US-Mexico border barrier.

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.

A UK-based financial services and bank holding company. Its subsidiary banks have provided credit and loans to private prison corporation GEO Group.

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 firm that does maintenance and repairs of the US-Mexico border fence in Arizona.

A US-based military company that provides phone tracking devices and other equipment to US immigration authorities and the Israeli military. Used to provide surveillance technologies for the US-Mexico border and Israeli military checkpoints.

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.

A US military IT contractor that provides imaging technologies and biometric systems to US immigration authorities for border monitoring and surveillance.

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.

The world's largest military company that provides fighter jets, attack helicopters, and missile systems that the Israeli military uses against Palestinian civilians as well as reconnaissance aircraft used to monitor the US-Mexico border.

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.

One of Israel's largest real estate companies, specializes in properties for industrial or commercial use. Owns multiple industrial spaces in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

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-based communications and surveillance company. Leading supplier of license plate recognition software. Sells surveillance products for use at US prisons, at the US-Mexico Border, and by US police agencies. Its equipment is installed in illegal settlements and in the separation wall in the West Bank and 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.

An Israeli surveillance company, specializing in phone, video, and internet monitoring. Its audio and video indexing and mining software Nexidia is used by US prisons.

One of the world's largest military companies. Develops missile systems 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 the US Department of 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.

An Israeli development and engineering firm. Operates a quarry and factory in the occupied West Bank and involved in illegal settlement construction.

A US-based high-tech surveillance company. Designed systems for US immigration authorities 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 US-based financial services and bank holding company. Its subsidiary Pinnacle Bank has provided credit and loans to private prison corporation CoreCivic.

A US-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 US military and intelligence contractor, which has enhanced data sharing between US immigration authorities and local law enforcement agencies.

An Israeli company (formerly Magal Security Systems) specializing in high-tech security systems for fences and walls. Its systems are installed in the West Bank and Gaza walls.

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

An Israeli construction and infrastructure firm. Operates a quarry and concrete plant in the occupied West Bank and involved in several development projects in illegal settlements there.

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.

A Chinese solar energy company. Its subsidiary Suntech co-built a solar power station in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and produced solar panels used in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.

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-based financial services and bank holding company. Its subsidiary Synovus Bank has provided credit and loans to private prison corporation CoreCivic.

A US workforce housing company that owns and partially operates two of the largest US immigration jails.

A US engineering and IT government contractor. Its subsidiary FLIR Systems provides mobile surveillance systems to monitor the US-Mexico border.

A US-based military contractor known for its Bell, Beechcraft, Cessna, and Hawker aircraft brands, some of which are used to monitor the US-Mexico border and by the Israeli Air Force.

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 data broker and information services provider that provides systems and databases to the US immigration authorities for tracking and targeting immigrant communities

An Israeli staffing services agency. Its subsidiary Reshef Security provides security services to multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and 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. Built residential projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

This page was last updated on
26 October 2021