CDPQ CEO says that do not endorse Israeli war crimes in its portfolio, but then why is there still $12.5B invested in companies complicit with Israeli war crimes
The CDPQ continues to have about $12.5 billion of Quebec contributors and pension recipients invested in Israeli war crimes, after Allied Universal drops investment in Israeli police training.
The 2022-year end report of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) indicated at least $14B investment (actually estimated to be $20B) in over 90 companies complicit with Israeli war crimes. However, a recent selling of shares by one of the companies, Allied Universal, would mean $12.5B of CDPQ funds would remain in companies supporting Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Included in the 2022 year-end report were investments of over $2.42 billion in a dozen companies identified by the UN as complicit is war crimes.
Also included was Allied Universal which had purchased G4S in 2021. CDPQ did not clearly list the amount invested in Allied Universal in the 2022 annual report listing it as having a value of at least $1.5 B. However, based on the 2020 estimated value of $8.5 B of which CDPQ was reported to own 80%, it would seem to be around perhaps $7B. Thus the figure of actual CDPQ investments related to companies complicity in Israeli war crimes and human right violations would have been closer to $20B.
On June 1, 2023, it was reported that Allied Universal had ended its complicity with Israeli war crimes due to a strong position taken by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). In particular, G4S was divesting its remaining stake in the consortium that operates Policity, Israel’s police academy. The shares of Policity were being sold to the Israeli company G1 which itself is known for its complicity in human rights violations.
It is good news that Allied Universal is shedding itself of Policity which has been involved in well documented war crimes and human rights violations perpetrated over the year by the Israeli police.
When challenged earlier this year about CDPQ’s investment in torture of Palestinians including children, the CDPQ’s CEO Emond replied: “I completely agree with you. This is not the kind of activity we endorse at all.”( Quebec lawmakers grill Caisse over stake in scandal-plagued security firm Allied Universal, Globe and Mail, May 4, 2023, also can read here). If this is the case in regard to Allied Universal, then what about the other 90 companies in the CDPQ portfolio that have been documented to be complicit with Israeli war crimes.
The Question, CEO Emond: why is CDPQ comfortable to continue with $12.5 B investments in over 90 other companies that are complicit with Israeli war crimes. This includes the dozen companies as documented by the UN database, as well as $3.5B shares in WSP Global which is under investigation to be considered for addition to the UN database. Also, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Investigate project has identified over 80 other companies with a value of $6.5B that are complicit with supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine which are held by CDPQ. Many of these companies have also been documented for their complicity in Israeli war crimes by the Israel research organization, Who Profits.
In regard to WSP Global, on September 15, 2022, Al-Haq and Just Peace Advocates submitted a report to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, requesting that WSP Global Inc. (WSP), a Canadian company, be included in the UN Database of Companies Operating in Illegal Israeli Settlements (“the Database”). The submission was endorsed by 105 organizations from across Canada and around the world, in addition to esteemed personalities, such as former Canadian MP Libby Davies; former UN special rapporteurs Michael Lynk, John Dugard and Richard Falk; and Noam Chomsky. Learn more about the submission.
It is appalling that CDPQ continues to invest $3.5 billion, in WSP, the company that was contracted by Israel to plan, design, maintain and extend the Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR), a public light rail system that contributes to the maintenance of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and annexed East Jerusalem. WSP facilitates the practice of forcible transfer of settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), through its construction and maintenance of the JLR, while deepening the physical, social and economic integration of the settlements. Through its active maintenance of Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise in occupied East Jerusalem, WSP is implicated in gross and systematic violations of basic human rights against the protected Palestinian population.
Could CDPQ use its influence to get WSP Global to withdraw from its contract on the JLR, as they did with Allied Universal in regard to its ownership of Policity. CDPQspokesman Conrad Harrington said in regard to Allied Universal when questioned a few weeks “[CDPQ] takes any human rights allegations very seriously and [CDPQ] is one of the world’s most respected investors when it comes to ESG criteria—which we apply rigorously and consistently.“ Would this not apply for WSP Global and at least the dozenUnited Nations (UN) identified companies held by CPPIB.
The call made for the last three years continues for CDPQ
- To divest from the companies on the UN list, from WSP Global, and those listed by AFSC Investigate as complicit in the Israeli occupation.
- Review all portfolios for any other investments that are in violation of international law.
- Put in place a transparent process to ensure that companies are vetted for violations of human rights and international law.
The concerns raised are also in the broader context of ethical investment related to Quebec’s public fund investment including in mining, fossil fuels, private health care, and other issues of justice and humanitarian concern.
CDPQ is asked 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 CDPQ that in Canada, parties that are complicit in war crimes are liable to criminal prosecution under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, including corporations.
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