Occupation Map

Occupation Map

Sunday, 19 July 2020

End Brent's complicity in human rights abuses in Palestine

In April 2020 PSC defeated the UK govt in Supreme Court overturning regulations that prohibited Local Government Pensions Schemes (LGPSs) from taking ethical decisions including removing investment from companies complicit in Israel’s violation of International Law and Palestinian Human Rights.

Israel can only maintain its grave breaches of International Law and Palestinian Human Rights because of products, equipment and services it receives from a range of companies and financial institutions

These companies either supply the Israeli military, provide technology and equipment for Israel’s infrastructure of illegal military occupation or are active in illegal Israeli settlements based on Palestinian stolen land

Local Govt Pension Schemes invest in 2 ways

  1. Directly by holding shares ways in specific companies
  2. Indirectly through investment funds which holds shares on their behalf. 
  3. Via the London Collective Investment Vehicle (CIV) https://londonciv.org.uk/#

So far, research by PSC has found there are 49 LGPS funds in companies that aid Israel’s breaches of international law

They are worth over £3.5 billion £ 3,582,374,282

London Local Government Pension Schemes

According to research by PSC, so far Brent in comparison with other London Boroughs has the 5th highest amount of investment in companies complicit in the Arms trade.

Brent has investments worth just over 8.5 million

So far with information available the top six London boroughs are.

Hackney £29,463,947 
Camden £19,425,179 
Islington £13,715,000 
Hounslow £13,305,323 
Brent £8,462,308

Brent Local Government Pension Scheme

Top 5 complicit investments

HSBC £4,663,056
HSBC invests over £830million in, and provides financial services worth up to £19billion for, companies arming Israel. These investments include up to £100million worth of shares in the company Caterpillar, who supply the Israeli army with bulldozers which are weaponised and used to demolish Palestinian communities, build Israel’s illegal settlements and apartheid infrastructure including the apartheid wall and military checkpoints. For more info: https://www.palestinecampaign.org/campaigns/stop-arming-israel/

Barclays £1,252,342
Barclays is a British multinational bank and financial services company. Barclays hold approximately £1,167.6 millions of investments in companies that are known to supply the Israeli military. This includes Babcock, BAE and Boeing, Cobham and Rolls Royce. More information available in War on Want’s 2017 ‘Deadly Investments’ report.

BAE Systems £970,233
According to CAAT, “BAE Systems is the world’s fourth largest arms producer. Its portfolio includes fighter aircraft, warships, tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery, missiles and small arms ammunition. It has military customers in over 100 countries. BAE has a workshare agreement with Lockheed Martin producing the US F-35 stealth combat aircraft. Israel, for example, took delivery of its first F-35 in 2016. According to Investigate, a project by the American Friends Service Committee, 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.

Smiths Group £316,811
According to CAAT “Smiths Group is a global technology company with five divisions: John Crane, Smiths Medical, Smiths Detection, Smiths Interconnect and Flex-Tek. Smiths Connectors is part of Smiths Interconnect and comprises Hypertac, IDI and Sabritec brands. Products include connectors used in fighting vehicles, unmanned vehicles and avionics systems.” They have applied for a number of military export licences to Israel.

Rolls Royce £294,535
Rolls-Royce is a British manufacturer that produces military aircraft engines, naval engines and cores for nuclear submarines. Despite arms comprising only 26% of its total sales, it is still the world’s 17th largest Arms trade. In 2014, the year of Israel’s arial bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza, which killed over 2,200 civilians, nearly a quarter of them children, Rolls-Royce was granted export licenses for engines for military aircrafts to Israel.

Local Action

During the Covid restrictions opportunities for  physical demonstrations, lobbies etc are restricted but we can meeting with other organisations on zoom and use social media to make the case.

We can also communicate with Brent Council's Pensions Sub-Committee over the issue and make alliances with trade unions with members on the Local Government Pensions Scheme.


You can use the template below to write to the Chair of the Brent  Pension Fund Sub-Committee. 
Send to   cllr.shafique.choudhary@brent.gov.uk


These are the Pension Fund Sub-committee members that you may wish to contact:


Most of Brent's investments are now managed by the London Collecive Investment Vehicle (CIV) along with other London boroughs. Therefore a ley part of the campaign is to link with other London PSC groups to exert pressure on the CIV. This is made up of professional investment managers so not directly democratically accountable so some of the pressure has to be on the policies of the CIV, particularly in terms of ethical policies.

The extract below shows where they are currently:

London Collective Investment Vehicle

We recognise that our clients have a fiduciary duty to act in the best long-term interests of their members. To do so properly requires us to recognise that environmental, social and governance issues can positively and negatively impact on the Fund Solutions provided by the Pool which should be considered in our investment strategies and decision-making processes.

Guiding Principles
a)We should set out principles to which we aspire on subjects that all shareholders can agree, for example:
•Human rights
•Human slavery
•Cluster munitions
•Rule of law
•Corporate governance
•Climate change
•Fossil fuel risk

There is risk but also opportunity in holding companies that have weak governance of financially material Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) issues. Thus, the Pool has a policy of risk monitoring and engagement in order to positively influence company behaviour and enhance stakeholder value, influence that would be lost through a divestment approach. The Pool extends this principle of ‘engagement for positive change’ to the due diligence, appointment and monitoring of external fund managers who are at an early stage of developing their Responsible Investment (RI) approach.

As indicated in the DCLG document, the Government’s intention is to issue guidance to authorities to clarify that such considerations should not result in policies which pursue municipal boycotts, divestments and sanctions, other than where formal legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions have been put in place by the Government. Investment policies should not be used to give effect to municipal foreign or munitions policies that run contrary to Government policy. This guidance has since been challenged on legal grounds and is currently under review. The London CIV policy will reflect the Government guidelines when this has been finalised

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