Anti-poverty campaign group War on Want today expressed shock and disappointment at the Church of England’s continuing refusal to withdraw its £2.2 million (nearly US$4 million) investment from the construction firm Caterpillar. The Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) has been examining whether its investments in Caterpillar are consistent with the Church’s ethical investment policy, which prohibits investment in arms companies. The EIAG has now rejected calls for divestment, even though Caterpillar has refused to rule out future sales of its products to the Israeli army.
Caterpillar has been singled out by the United Nations for complicity in human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. As detailed in War on Want’s ‘alternative report’ on Caterpillar, thousands of Palestinian homes and vast swathes of agricultural land have been destroyed by the Israeli military using armoured Caterpillar D9 bulldozers. Caterpillar bulldozers have also been used in the construction of Israel’s Separation Wall, ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice in July 2004.
Nick Dearden, Campaigns Officer at War on Want, said: “Caterpillar has made no apology for the profits it continues to make in Palestine, even though those profits come at the cost of death and destruction for the Palestinians on a daily basis. Caterpillar even had a major presence at the controversial DSEi arms fair in London last week. That the Church chooses to invest its money in such a company will come as a huge shock to the tens of thousands of Church members who believe in creating a better world.”
War on Want fights poverty in developing countries in partnership and solidarity with people affected by globalisation. We campaign for workers’ rights and against the root causes of global poverty, inequality and injustice.