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Portland’s socially responsible investments committee recommends putting Caterpillar on city’s ‘do-not-buy’ list

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The following press release was sent to us by Occupation Free Portland:

Portland’s Socially Responsible Investments Committee (SRIC) voted – 4 in favor, 2 opposed – at its March 17th meeting to recommend that City funds should not be invested in Caterpillar, citing concern that Caterpillar Corporation violates a number of the City’s socially responsible investment criteria.

Caterpillar, which provides militarized bulldozers that are used to demolish Palestinian homes, has long been a target of human rights activists. Maxine Fookson, from Occupation-Free Portland, which pushed for Caterpillar to be placed on the Do-Not-Buy List, said “This is an important victory for human rights.  The SRIC today took a stand on the right side of history making it clear that companies, like Caterpillar, that are knowingly engaged in human rights violations in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land should not be supported by Portland investments.”

The SRIC’s recommendation was based on review of an MSCI analysis which rates companies for their investment potential and includes a screen that looks at environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns.  In addition, the SRIC heard powerful testimony at their February meeting from supporters of Occupation-Free Portland, a campaign committed to getting Caterpillar, G4S, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions placed on Portland’s Do-Not-Buy List for their complicity in – and profiting from – the many human rights violations that are part of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

Occupation-Free Portland spokesperson Peter Miller remarked, “The SRIC did the right thing because Caterpillar builds militarized bulldozers for the Israeli Defense Forces that are designed specifically to demolish Palestinian homes and tear up infrastructure (roads, sewage, electricity, water, and telecommunication cables) in Israeli-occupied Palestinian cities. Caterpillar’s actions are human rights violations.  Our goal is to become an occupation-free city by not investing in companies like Caterpillar with horrible records on human rights.”

The SRIC is made up of seven citizens appointed by Portland’s City Council who are charged with implementing a socially responsible investment resolution passed in December 2014.  That resolution lists seven criteria – from environmental impacts to human rights violations -that need to be considered in determining which corporations should be included in Portland’s investment portfolio.

Later this year, the SRIC will recommend to the City Council a list of corporations that should be on Portland’s Do-Not-Buy List. Members of the City Council will consider the SRIC recommendations and make the final decision in this matter.

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11 Responses

  1. amigo
    March 18, 2016, 1:49 pm

    Wait for the usual suspects claiming Oregon always was a hotbed of antisemitism and Jew hatred and that all products from Oregon should be boycotted because Jews are forced to boycott others and are the unwilling perpetrators of actions of boycott.

    I just bet the phones are busy in the Oregon capital , what with all those pro Israel money men threatening to close the state down unless they see things the zionist way.

    • Mooser
      March 18, 2016, 2:10 pm

      “and that all products from Oregon should be boycotted…”

      Don’t worry, they only sell the “products from Oregon” within the state. And they’re feeling pretty flush about now.

    • Emory Riddle
      March 18, 2016, 3:11 pm

      Of course. And watch the gutless pols on the City Council cave in.

    • Boomer
      March 19, 2016, 8:48 am

      re: “Jews are forced to boycott others and are the unwilling perpetrators of actions of boycott.”

      On the other hand, it is fine for Americans to be taxed to fund Israel’s continuing dispossession and oppression of Palestinians.

      • niass2
        March 23, 2016, 1:39 am

        Oregon is a hot bed of trees. The have kind rednecks there , its not like massachusetts. or Kentucky.

  2. BenYehudah
    March 20, 2016, 7:57 pm

    Lucky you in USA – still allowed to use “socially responsible” criteria in procurement policies. Here in the UK, the Government is making any criteria based on ethical considerations ILLEGAL for any body which receives any public funds. That’s all local government, health boards, universities etc. That the purpose of this is to attack the BDS movement has been explicitly stated by Government spokespeople, and reinforced by the official announcement being made on a UK ministerial visit to Israel.

    By declaring it a matter of ‘Foreign Policy’, our Government has prevented public bodies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from taking their own decisions as they usually would on public procurement matters, which are devolved.

    See for example, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/02/anger-uk-moves-ban-israeli-settlement-boycott-160215164105804.html

    • JWalters
      March 21, 2016, 6:35 pm

      Ethics are illegal! Back to the stone age. We are seeing the extreme effort to rule the world by money, dragging society down into the dregs. Disgusting.

    • niass2
      March 23, 2016, 1:38 am

      whatever, they lost their colonies, and now this junk. its still a boring depressing place, no matter how we cut it. Watch the wall again.

  3. JWalters
    March 21, 2016, 6:37 pm

    My profound thanks to Portland for its moral leadership. The world sorely needs it.

  4. niass2
    March 23, 2016, 1:36 am

    There are many Portlands…for example, a band is playing in the wrong one in July, but may be at the needed one in the fall. not sure. Portland should do that, both of them. That’s an objective to have, and both are nice places.

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