Tuesday, April 28, 2015

NEW AFSC Screening Tool

Good news! The American Friends Service Committee has launched an online tool for screening companies that are complicit in ongoing severe violations of human rights and international law in Israel/Palestine. One may be surprised to find who is profiting from the suffering of others. Please have a look at www.afsc.org/investigate

Many socially responsible funds screen out major weapons manufacturers and companies with poor records of environmental or labor protection. However, corporate complicity in severe human rights violations in Israel/Palestine is often not taken into account explicitly in these considerations. The new tool developed by AFSC identifies specific violations, lists relevant public campaigns targeting these companies, and provides information on initiatives taken by responsible investors around the world to influence and change that corporate behavior.

To check the status of your mutual fund investments go to the fund providers' website to obtain the latest report with a list of holdings and scan the report with our tool. Once you have completed your initial scan you can contact your fund providers to ask for an updated list of holdings and to share with them your specific concerns.

If your fund already advertises itself as socially responsible, ask your money managers if they screen for human rights abuses and violations of international law in Israel/Palestine. Suggest they use our tool to identify corporate violators and incorporate our information into their decision making process. Information about corporate violations in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory has not been readily accessible to investors until recently.

Finally, it is important to note that some of the companies engaged in problematic business practices in the occupied Palestinian territories are also involved in problematic practices elsewhere. As a result, a number of socially responsible funds are already Occupation-Free, meaning they currently have no investments in the main corporate violators in Israel/Palestine.

The following is a list of socially responsible mutual funds whose latest annual reports are Occupation-Free according to AFSC’s scans. However, this does not mean that any of these funds have actively screened for occupation-related violations, or that they will remain Occupation-Free throughout 2015.

American Trust Allegiance Fund (ATAFX)                   
Appleseed Fund (APPLX)
Ariel Fund (ARGFX)                                                    
Ariel Appreciation Fund (CAAPX)
Ariel International Fund (AINTX)                                 
Ariel Global Fund (AGLOX)
Azzad Ethical Fund (ADJEX)                           
Gabelli SRI Fund (SRIGX)
Green Century Balanced Fund (GCBLX)                     
Neuberger Berman Socially Responsive Fund (NBSRX)
New Alternatives Fund (NALFX)                                
Parnassus Endeavor Fund (PARWX)                           
Parnassus Fund (PARNX)
Walden Asset Managment Fund (WSBFX)                  
Portfolio 21 Global Equity Fund (PORTX)
Walden Midcap Fund (WAMFX)                                
Walden Equity Fund (WSEFX)

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