The Board of the American Friends Service Committee approved in its June 2021 session a new investment policy statement for the organization, incorporating a groundbreaking invest/divest framework. As far as we know, we are the first institution with a comprehensive immigrant justice investment policy; with a decision to divest from the prison industrial complex as a whole, not just from private prison companies; and with a policy that addresses Israeli apartheid.
Our investment policy continues to impose a product-based exclusion of weapon companies, military contractors, fossil fuel companies, and other industries that mainstream socially responsible investors have been avoiding. However, it also includes our innovative human rights screen - a universal conduct-based screen that examines corporate involvement in state violence and human rights violations.
Our human rights screen was developed in-house by AFSC program staff. It reads:
Investments should not be made in companies which consistently, knowingly, and directly facilitate and enable state violence and repression, war and occupation, and/or severe violations of international law and human rights. This includes, but is not limited to, companies involved in the following business activities:
a. Industries of mass incarceration and detention, including those providing prison and jail services, detainee transportation and deportation services, bond services, reentry and other “community corrections” services, electronic monitoring, or companies which use prison labor;
b. Security, defense, and military industries, including the industries of border security, militarized policing, and mass surveillance; and,
c. Companies that facilitate and enable violations of international law and human rights as part of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Syrian lands and/or as part of Israeli apartheid.