According to the Sunday Business Post, the Norwegian Pension Fund has purchased 3% of Cement Roadstone Holdings

See this link for details:

http://www.thepost.ie/story/ojmhaugbsn/

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Ms. Lund from the Norwegian Ethical Council has kindly sent this outline of her speech at the recent conference on governmental ethical investment. It explains the methods and reasons behind the Norwegian system.

Ms. Lund outlined the Norwegian system and its challenges. The Ministry of Finance uses a number of different instruments to promote its goals as a responsible investor: Active ownership, exclusion of companies, international collaboration and contribution to the development of best practice, research and investigations and targeted investment programmes. The Norwegian Fund has outlined several goals for responsible management i.a to promote good corporate governance and greater awareness of social and environmental issues among companies and to avoid investments in companies that engage in grossly unethical activities. Ms. Lund said that in the Norwegian discussion a sound return on the investments was seen as an important ethical obligation as future generations should also benefit from the oil wealth.

Whereas active ownership is the main instrument to promote change in companies, exclusion is the main instrument to avoid investments in companies that fall below a certain standard. In the choice between promoting change through active ownership or excluding companies, Ms. Lund believed that active ownership was the best option provided that change was possible. But in some cases exclusion is probably the only option to achieve “clean hands”. The Norwegian Fund does for instance have a screen on certain weapons and tobacco. The Fund may also exclude companies that contribute to serious violation of human rights, gross environmental degradation, gross corruption, gross violation of individual’s rights in war and conflict situation or other particularly serious violations of ethical norms.

Ms. Lund said that the manager of the Fund (NBIM) focuses its active ownership strategies on areas where ethical and financial considerations pull in the same direction, and she mentioned the expectation documents NBIM has published on climate change, child labour and water management. Companies at risk are made aware of the Fund’s expectations and are ranked according to certain criteria. She spoke of the need to focus, be realistic and precise. There was no point in aiming to change everything, or demanding the impossible.

The Council on Ethics is tasked with recommending to the Ministry of Finance the exclusion of companies according to the criteria above. As the aim is not to contribute to gross violations of ethical norms, the assessment is forward looking. While not ignoring past behavour, their main concern is the future behavour of a company. The recommendations of the Council are publicly available stating the reasons to exclude a company and the sources of information. Ms. Lund believes that the publication of these reports has a considerable influence. While these reports are not binding, they allow an informed and well researched view to be given to activists and investors in all forms. . Ms. Lund emphasized the importance of regulations and international cooperation. The states have the responsibility to protect human rights and to develop environmental standards, not investors. But investors can contribute to the respect for the standards generally agreed upon.


Dáil reviews the case for an Ethical Council similar to the Norwegian model

On June 24th, the Dáil sub-committee on Human Rights invited Ms. Eli Lund from the Norwegian Ethical Council to discuss possible ethical standards for the Irish Pension Fund. The Norwegian Ethical Council was the government body responsible for the divestment from Elbit Sytems.

This meeting was significant as it discussed efforts to put in place an Ethical Council in Ireland for the Irish Pension Fund, similar to the Norwegian Ethical Council  which recommends where the Norwegian Pension Fund invests. Ms. Lund, a current member of the Norwegian Ethical Council, addressed the committee alongside members of Trócaire, one of the largest NGOs in Ireland, that has been instrumental in this campaign. The committee ended by requesting the publication of the report on the issue in order for the matter to proceed.

The Irish System

The Irish Pension Reserve Fund -IPRF- has no duty or legal requirement to consider ethical obligations when picking their investments. It has signed onto the UN Principals for Responsible Investment. However at this point, legally, the IPRF cannot divest for ethical reasons. If it places ethical considerations before financial ones, or excludes any company for ethical reasons, it is in breach of Irish law. To change this requires a change in legislation. To achieve a change in legislation requires a report. A report has been compiled by Trócaire and other NGOs to try to rectify this situation. This report has been presented to the Irish Government but not yet published. While it is legally impossible for the IPRF to currently exclude any company, it is allowed to exclude all companies involved in the direct production of landmines, due to legislation passed on this subject. The IPRF operates its active ownership through a consultancy group called Hermes. It is also involved in several CSR initiatives, such as one in Sudan.

The Norwegian example

Ms. Lund outlined the Norwegian system and its challenges. At one point stating that Ethical Councils ‘aim is to have clean hands’. She believed change was better than exclusion. She emphasised that power of the Norwegian public’s demands for an Ethical Council and the effect of the Councils reports. While these reports are not binding, they are, in her opinion, one of the most effective parts of the Councils work. They allow an informed and well researched view to be given to activists and investors in all forms. She also spoke of the need to focus, be realistic and precise. There was no point in aiming to change everything, or demanding a tobacco company cease tobacco production. Equally there can be hypocrisy, such as  excluding arms dealers when your own government buys arms. By recognising the limits of the Councils resources and possibilities they were able to maximise what they could achieve. She also emphasised the economic benefits and loss associated with ethical investment. The investment will not lose over the long term but it does have a narrower field, therefore a very clear decision needs to be made to place ethical considerations before economical ones. The engagement with companies needs to be clear and transparent to all. Companies need to be aware at all times of the funds expectations. The Ethical Council strives to be forward looking. While not ignoring past behaviour, their main concern is the future behaviour of a company. Above all she emphasised the need to do what little can be done instead of doing nothing.

Irish NGOs requests

Trócaire recommended that 3 principles be employed.

  • Active ownership
    • constant and systematic interaction with companies to encourage and monitor.
  • Negative screening
    • cutting out types of industry, and enforcing exclusion when appropriate
  • Positive selection
    • choosing companies that are ethical

These photos were taken outside apartment blocks being built on land stolen from the Palestinian town of  Bethlehem in the occupied Palestinian Territory. The land was one of the last remaining woodland areas in the West Bank which served as a vital recreational area and natural reserve. It is now filled with high rises reserved for Israelis only.

A photo showing before and after and maps can be seen here. The photos below show apartments being built as part of Har Homa, an illegal Israeli settlement.

More detailed current maps can be found at the UN website.

The photos are of the same pile of products, taken in sequence to show they are in the settlement.


These photos were taken inside apartment blocks being built on land stolen from the Palestinian town of  Bethlehem in the occupied Palestinian Territory. The land was one of the last remaining woodland areas in the West Bank which served as a vital recreational area and natural reserve. It is now filled with high rises reserved for Israelis only.

A photo showing before and after and maps can be seen here:  http://www.poica.org/editor/case_studies/view.php?recordID=1207. The photos below show apartments being built as part of Har Homa, an illegal Israeli settlement.

More detailed current maps can be found at the UN website: http://www.ochaonline.un.org.

The photos are of the same Apartment block, over several floors. Some photos are from teh roof and balconies. The view is towards Bethlehem. I believe the houses on the hill are Palestinian, lying between Har Homa and Bethlehem.  Confirmation of this would be welcomed.


These photos show apartment blocks being built using Nesher products on land stolen from the Palestinian town of  Bethlehem in the occupied Palestinian Territory. The land was one of the last remaining woodland areas in the West Bank which served as a vital recreational area and natural reserve. It is now filled with high rises reserved for Israelis only.

A photo showing before and after and maps can be seen here:  http://www.poica.org/editor/case_studies/view.php?recordID=1207. The photos below show apartments being built as part of Har Homa, an illegal Israeli settlement.

More detailed current maps can be found at the UN website: http://www.ochaonline.un.org.

The photos are of the same place, each photo taken further away from the Nesher bags until the street can be seen. This is to illustrate that the Nesher products are being used in the settlement.

Nesher Products used in Abu Ghneim/Har Homa

Nesher Products used in Abu Ghneim/Har Homa

Nesher Products used in Abu Ghneim/Har Homa

Nesher Products used in Abu Ghneim/Har Homa

Nesher Products used in Abu Ghneim/Har Homa

Nesher Products used in Abu Ghneim/Har Homa

Nesher Products used in Abu Ghneim/Har Homa

Nesher Products used in Abu Ghneim/Har Homa

Nesher Products used in Abu Ghneim/Har Homa


These photos show an embankment being built using Nesher products on land stolen from the Palestinian town of  Bethlehem in the occupied Palestinian Territory. The land was one of the last remining woodland areas in the West Bank which served as a vital recreational area and natural reserve. It is now filled with high rises reserved for Israelis only

A photo showing before and after and maps can be seen here:  http://www.poica.org/editor/case_studies/view.php?recordID=1207. The photos below show a reinforcing wall being built as part of Har Homa, an illegal Israeli settlement.

More detailed current maps can be found at the UN website: http://www.ochaonline.un.org.

The photos are of the same place, each photo taken further away from the Nesher bags until the street can be seen. This is to illustrate that the Nesher products are being used in the settlement.

.


Project Clean Hands: Cement Roadstone Holdings

June 2009

Introduction

In recent years human rights activists have used their own national courts to prosecute war crimes committed by their fellow citizens abroad. International humanitarian and human rights law are used to gain warrants for the arrest of senior members of Israeli military[1] or to prosecute companies seen to be profiting from war crimes committed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict[2]. The effectiveness of these campaigns can be gauged both from the reaction of the targeted companies, who frequently bow to applied pressure before a case is brought to court and from the reaction of opponents, who call these ‘frivolous’ cases ‘lawfare’.[3] These efforts succeed on many levels. They can provide a practical change on the ground, they allow arguments in media and political circles to be framed correctly, and highlight the difference between local political rhetoric and national political actions. Finally, they set a precedent in law and public arenas for Palestine and for human rights in general. In Ireland such a campaign could be mounted against Cement Roadstone Holdings (CRH). This report outlines the bases of legal and ethical responsibility of CRH with regard to the operations of its Israeli subsidiary, Mashav. It begins by describing the structure of CRH, its subsidiaries, and its current status with regard to recent global financial upheavals. Its connection to the Separation Wall and settlement project will be outlined. CRH is considered to have high standards of corporate social responsibility by most international Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) indexes. These lists, along with its own stated ethical standards will be examined. The legal obligations under international law on CRH are compared to recent examples in courts in Ireland and abroad and the possibility of success before legal options are discussed. Finally the Irish context of political, public and media sympathies in which any legal or campaigning avenue would have to operate are assessed as well as those organizations within Ireland who would support such an action, or have already done so.


Cement Roadstone Holdings

Cement Roadstone Holdings (CRH) is an Irish registered building materials group which manufactures and distributes building material products. It has operations in 35 countries, employing approximately 93,500 people. Most of its operations are in Europe and the US. In 2008, profits before tax were €1.6 billion, a decrease of 14% on the previous year.[4]

In 2001, CRH acquired 25% of the Israeli company Mashav Initiating and Development Limited. Mashav owns 100% of Nesher, the sole cement producing company in Israel.[5] In 2007 and 2008, Nesher accounted for 93% of all cement marketed in Israel. Mashav is also involved in several separate subsidiaries, and Nesher itself has many subsidiaries. See appendix 2 for the structure of the company. Through these subsidiaries Mashav has a stake in nearly all construction activity by Israel, from shipping, air freight, transport, packing, stones, cement, and much more. There are also several interesting exclusive contracts which the subsidiary companies. This makes visual investigation relatively easy. For example through its subsidiary Tashtit Construction Machinery, Mashav is the representative in Israel for some Liebherr construction vehicles[6]. These vehicles are easily identifiable by their clear branding, and have already been documented in other projects as used in Israeli construction across the oPT.[7] The Mashav subsidiaries have several other exclusive contracts and/or majority market share, which makes it relatively easy to visually track and record their involvement in the Wall and settlement project.

Investigation by volunteers in June 2009 of the East Jerusalem tramway constructions sites and settlement areas in the oPT has established that Nesher cement products are used in illegal Israeli construction. There are now recorded instances where Nesher products can be seen being used in settlements. More examples of this type will be attached to the report as they arrive.[8] It should be noted that these examples are across a broad range of activities. The Nesher products can be seen used to build residential single family houses, apartment blocks, schools, synagogues and Israeli infrastructures such as the light railway project in east Jerusalem and road side works in Jebal Abu Ghneim. It should also be noted that while in some cases only a few bags were found, in others, notably in Jebal Abu Ghneim, vast stacks are being used. Volunteers will resume gathering photographic evidence on Nesher and other subsidiary companies in August 2009.

In its 2001 annual report CRH reported that ‘‘despite the difficult political situation, Mashav performed satisfactorily in its first full year with the Group. The Israeli cement market was unchanged from 2001, while the West Bank and Gaza markets were 25% lower due to the additional security controls…Although the political climate in Israel remains uncertain, cement demand is forecast to grow by 4% as a result of a forecast GDP growth of 2% and additional infrastructure investment.’[9] Since 2001, references to its Israeli subsidiary in its annual reports have narrowed considerably, possibly as a result of negative publicity it has received because of its Israeli holdings. Its Israeli holdings are currently listed in its Europe Materials Division as a Principal Associated Undertakings.

2008 was a turbulent economic year and while CRH was affected by currency fluctuations and sector instability, the company is still considered a good investment opportunity. It was among six stocks recommended by Goodbody Stockbrokers as its key investment picks for 2009.[10] At the start of 2008 its share price was at €23.95, in July this fell to €14.51. However following the announcement of the US planned infrastructure investment the share price increased again to over €20 by the middle of December.[11] CRH is tipped to be a major beneficiary of this investment through its US subsidiaries. The global economic recession also slowed CRH’s acquisition programme with the company only investing €2 billion in acquisitions and capital expenditure, compared with €2.2 billion in 2007.[12]

Policy decisions on acquisitions are dealt with by a permanent Acquisitions Committee comprising of board members. The group has reduced the number and size of its acquisitions due to the current deteriorating economic environment. In its list of possible future difficulties in 2009, CRH lists its inability to pursue a ‘strategy of growth through acquisitions; economic, political and local business risks associated with international revenue and operations and not having a controlling interest in businesses in which it has invested. Thus its comparatively small number of acquisitions in 2008 should not be seen as a permanent move, but a temporary stop gap until more favourable circumstances prevail. For example, there are reports that CRH and CLAH are considering purchasing Hanson Israel. [13] Since Hanson Israel has both quarries and factories built as part of the illegal settlement of the West Bank[14]. such a purchase would consolidate CRHs role in the occupation.

CRH held the right to acquire a further 25% in Mashav however this option expired at the end of 2008, without the group exercising it. Further investment in this area would provide welcome finance to the group as the Separation Wall is the single largest infrastructure project in Israel. The total cost of the project has been estimated at approximately NIS 13 billion. Construction in the oPT using cement is not limited to the Separation Wall; in a report published in 2008 by Adva, an Israeli NGO, it was calculated that the Israeli government was responsible for 53% of construction starts and 43% of investment in housing construction in the oPT. This is an investment of NIS 11.3 billion over the 6 year period of the report.[15]

CRH has admitted in an interview with representatives from Amnesty Ireland that it was ‘in all probability’[16] they who produced the cement used in the building of the Separation Wall and Nesher has a monopoly of the Israeli cement industry. But in other statements CRH insists that it is ‘not involved in the building of the wall and that it was not responsible for work carried out by other construction firms using its cement.’[17] It also claims that ‘Nesher cannot, as a matter of law, refuse to sell or discriminate between any customer of whatever religion or political affiliation.’ [18] CRH does keep a record of the end uses of its products, as can be seen in each of its annual reports,[19] and a court order could be used to request further information linking Nesher and the construction of the wall. This was the case in France in February 2008. Transport company Veolia who are building a tramway – mentioned previously as a Nesher supported project- as part of the settlement project in the occupied Palestinian Territory, was forced by French courts to provide copies of the tramway contract with the city of Jerusalem and the Israeli government.[20]

Corporate Social Responsibility

CRH is seen within the construction sector and beyond as a leader in corporate social responsibility. It publishes an annual Corporate Social Responsibility Report[21] and updated its Code of Business Conduct in 2008, ‘insisting always on good quality, fair prices and ethical business practices’.[22] In its 2002 annual report, one year after acquiring Mashav, CRH stated that ‘our policy is to acquire only businesses that are operated professionally and which provide a platform for further growth by ethical means.’[23] Far from limiting the boundaries of its own responsibility CRH says that its social responsibility policy is ‘implemented in all subsidiaries’ and in the future it will ‘continue to refine & extend policy as CRH moves into new regions, particularly developing economies, preserving the CRH federal approach and culture’.[24]

Governance Metrics International rated the groups Corporate Social Responsibility at 10, its highest ranking.[25] CRH is ranked ‘AA’ by Innovest, the Social Responsibility index, has been awarded ‘Gold Class’ and ‘Sector Mover’ in 2008 by Sustainability Asset Management and was cited by Vigeo as one of the top three companies for its ‘positive and stable performances for… human rights’.[26] It is a constituent member of the FTSE4Good and Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, and won the IR Magazine award for best corporate governance for six years running, winning it again in 2008.[27] In Ireland the Leinster Society of Chartered Accountants awarded CRH the 2005 award for Corporate Social Responsibility. In 2007 its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report was externally verified by Det Norske Veritas.[28] It reports to the Global Reporting Initiative, a voluntary sustainability reporting network, which recently called for greater company support of the UN Global Compact.[29]

In its March 2007 report, Storebrand Investments, which helps ‘establish responsible investment criteria’[30] included a review of CRH. Its human rights section admitted that, ‘[o]nly a few companies make reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the UN Global Compact principles’, but states that ‘[t]here were no major human or labour rights violations reported (by media or others) involving the companies analysed.’ Under the governance section, which includes the assessment of a company’s code of conduct/ethics, it singled out CRH as providing ‘thorough reporting’.[31] This status brings manifold intangible advantages to CRH’s business.

Human rights criteria have in recent years begun to be the norm in lists of responsible investment. Most of the organisations listed above contain some reference or section on human rights. For example the FTSE4Good list opened a Human Rights category in 2003, some of the sub categories in criteria are the International Labour Organisations (ILO) Core Labour standards, the UN Global Compact Guidelines, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Companies must state clearly their commitment to the UDHR and to respect the rights of indigenous people.[32] The criteria instructs management to monitor the implementation of its human rights policy, remedy any non-compliance, train employees, consult with independent local stakeholders in the countries of concern, identify major human rights issues it faces, and produce a human rights report. CHR is listed as a constituent member.[33]

It is clear from this initial examination that there is not a rigorous enough examination applied to companies listed with regard to their human rights records by these indexes. It is not sufficient for a company to state that it would insist on ethical business practices implemented in all subsidiaries, unless proof of doing so is sought from independent sources. These standards are regularly used to guide ethical choices made by investors, and must be questioned. Given that CRH is considered one of the standard bearers of corporate social responsibility, a campaign detailing its involvement in human rights violations while being singled out for praise by indexes listing human rights as their concern would serve to extend the criteria of responsible investment.

Legal and Reporting Avenues

In its judgement on the legality of the Separation Wall, the International Court of Justice found that Israel cannot rely on a right of self-defence or on a state of necessity in order to preclude the wrongfulness of the construction of the wall. The Court accordingly finds that the construction of the wall, and its associated régime, are contrary to international law.’[34] It further found that other states, such as Ireland, were under an obligation not to recognise the illegal consequences of the building of the wall, and ‘They are also under an obligation not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction… and to ensure compliance by Israel’[35] A company supplying cement for the construction of the wall could be seen as rendering assistance. But a company is not a state, so can it be held accountable?

Although international laws are primarily devised for state actors, in a report on a Swedish company who operated a factory in the Barkan Industrial Complex, SwedWatch states that individual criminal responsibility means that individuals such as CEOs of companies, ‘can be held individually responsible for certain grave violations of international law, including war crimes.’[36] It is has not been made clear what extent private companies can be made bear legal responsibilities under international law, but the OECD Guidelines, the ILO declarations and the UN Global Compact clearly sets out standards of behaviour for companies that closely correspond to the international legal obligations of states. The UN Global Compact for example, states that businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses. It specifically references the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. The Red Cross, which offers advice to businesses operating in conflict areas, points out the possibility of being held criminally responsible for the commission of war crimes if they have provided ‘practical assistance, moral support or encouragement that has a substantial effect on the commission of a war crime’ in the knowledge that it was helping a war crime.[37] The Red Cross further states that ‘…because all States have an obligation to investigate and prosecute certain war crimes irrespective of where the acts occurred, business enterprises or their managers may face proceedings in countries other than those in which they operate’ and warns that business enterprises and their managers may also face civil liability as individuals seek compensation through national courts.

The most recent example of this type of legal action is the case, started in July 2008, in the Superior Court of Quebec against Annette Laroche who has been named as a defendant by the Bil’in Village Council. Ms. Laroche is the director of Green Park International Inc and Green Mount International Inc. who have been involved in constructing, marketing and selling residential units in the illegal Israeli settlement of Modi’in Illit in the occupied West Bank, on the land of the village of Bil’in. Bil’in’s suit against her and the two companies was placed before a Canadian Court last July. She was specifically named as personally responsible for the actions of her company.[38] The case against the companies is that by constructing the residential units they were ‘aiding, abetting, assisting and conspiring with Israel, the Occupying Power in the West Bank, in carrying out an illegal act.’ The case is being heard as a violation of international law but also of domestic Canadian law. This and other cases have opened a real and permanent avenue of practical solidarity, particularly since the case can be tried outside the area of conflict. This ensures as far as possible that external pressure is not applied unfairly on those seeking prosecution, and that the case is tried as justly as possible. There are other routes to successful change on the ground other than through the courts. Amnesty cites cases in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Columbia, Sierra Leone, and Angola where companies have found reputational damage on moral grounds to be ‘as strong an incentive as legal action’.[39]

An oil company which provided aviation fuel to the Sudanese airforce withdrew from its contract with the Sudanese government after it was named and shamed in a campaign by Amnesty International. The lock making company Assa Abloy withdrew its operations from the occupied Palestinian Territories after a report published by Diakonia, the Church of Sweden and SwedWatch, which outlined the legal vulnerabilities of operating in the West Bank.[40] However in these cases and in others, the report and the publicity accompanying it was necessary in order to change the companies practice.

The Irish Context

In similar cases within Ireland the application of international legal principles through Irish courts or the targeting of companies has not yet met with widespread support in the political mainstream. The two dominant political parties in Ireland, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael both have a strong business support base. Of the 166 seats in the Dáil, or Irish parliament, these two parties control 128 seats.[41] The popularity of these parties is relatively constant. There is strong central control of voting in both parties. Most of the issues around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are covered by three select committees, the select committees on European Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Justice, Equality, Defence and Women’s Rights. Of these Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have 85% of the member places. The Irish legal system is a dualist one, international agreement are not automatically entered into domestic law and so the Irish legal system is not as open to international law as the Canadian one. However one example of international principals applied in an Irish context occurred in 2006. Five activists were acquitted by Dublin Court after admitting they had attacked and damaged a US army plane in an Irish airport. The jury accepted that they were lawfully correct as they were protecting the lives and property of Iraqi citizens during the build-up for the invasion of Iraq. It should be noted that although this case had was based on international issues and standards, the reason used for the acquittal was domestic. The jury accepted the international illegality of the war in Iraq and combined it with a criminal Irish law to release the defendants. This shows that the possibility of using the Irish legal system exists.

While the legal case was successful, the media story was widely reported in a negative manner and the action was condemned by the main political parties.[42] This was because of the perceived illegal actions of the participants rather than because of support for war, showing how mobilising support and media coverage for such a case would be a crucial element. There are several active groups who campaign on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Ireland. Trócaire is the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland and has worked on Palestinian issues since 2002. In Ireland Trócaire is a widely recognised NGO, seen as a reliable source of information and has a large independent funding base. In 2008 it ran a public awareness campaign to highlight the impact of 40 years of Israeli occupation of Palestine, and met with Minister Dermot Ahern to present a petition calling for a more active role for Ireland in the Middle East. The Church of Ireland is also currently deciding whether to disinvest from the Cement Roadstone Holdings, which is one of its larger investments.[43] Amnesty Ireland is equally well respected in media, political and public circles. It has an active volunteer-run Israel and Occupied Territories group. It was Amnesty Internationals’ Irish branch that first brought CRH’s actions to public attention.[44] Other groups such as the Irish Palestinian Solidarity Group would strongly support such a campaign.[45] The Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the largest civil society organisation in Ireland, has passed a boycott, divestment and sanction motion against Israel and can be expected to support a call to clarify the roles and responsible of companies and their directors. These groups could be the basis of a campaigning network.


Conclusion

According to Amnesty International a company’s complicity should be judged against three main criteria: knowledge and awareness, proximity and benefit.[46] In the case of CRH, the company owns 25% of the Israeli company Mashav, which in turn owns Nesher, which has a monopoly on cement manufacturing in Israel[47] providing between 70% and 90% of the Israeli market. This allows a very close proximity to be established between victim and company, and the company benefits financially. The extensive use of logos has already allowed easy visual evidence to be gathered. It is possible to build a successful campaign based on legal reporting and prosecution. In previous cases outside Ireland public pressure prior to prosecution through thorough reporting and constant questioning of its actions by the larger NGO’s has led to an admission of responsibility and withdrawal. This support framework is already being built in Ireland, the Opt and Israel. Political and media circles would be harder to convince, particularly as it is one of the few construction firms that continue to have build a solid business profile globally during the current recession. But a legal action would reduce their direct influence and as shown above, the legal system has previously gone against political will. This campaign would have a large impact on the ground – in Palestine, Ireland and internationally. Success would mean the public removal of a large portion of financial backing to the cement supply for Separation Wall and could slow work on its construction. Even without complete success the case would stimulate debate within Israel by signalling a change in European standards to the Israeli public. It would also serve as a reminder of the possibility of public prosecution to all current and potential investors and directors.

The impact of such a campaign could produce a practical and lasting victory for international law in Ireland. It would promote a discussion based on the framework of human rights and law rather than opinion. In the public sphere it would further cement the idea of the Separation Wall’s and settlement projects illegality, as well as Irelands complicity. It would reaffirm the need to enforce laws on Irish people and companies whether their actions are within Ireland or abroad and be a further step towards the practical implementation of human rights law. CRH is a large global group, with a high standing within the construction industry of corporate social responsibility. A campaign to remove its contribution to the construction of the Wall would be reported extensively, particularly in America, where it has well respected subsidiaries which are major beneficiaries of the new construction plan. A withdrawal of backing by CRH from Mashav would signal a sea change in how business can operate in conflict zones. It would join a growing number of cases worldwide where international law is being applied to those who profit from conflict. Corporate social responsibility indexes would also be forced into stricter surveillance of the companies claiming to uphold human rights and it would slow the number of businesses willing to risk the public prosecution of their companies, and civil prosecution of their CEO’s through involvement in the settlement project. CRH has never expressed any concern over its involvement with Nesher. Despite repeated requests from the NGO sector in Ireland to withdraw or investigate its own subsidiaries, it has never done so and there is the real possibility that it will pursue a deeper involvement with Nesher. A campaign is necessary now not only to affect a withdrawal but to prevent further investment by an Irish company.

Appendix 1:Photos

Photos may be accessed online at https://projectcleanhands.wordpress.com
Appendix 2.1 General Company Structure

Appendix 2.1 Overall Group Structure

Note:

These companies collectively operate in all major aspects of Israeli construction.

Israeli Shipyards

Lists as its main customers as Israeli Ministry of Defence and Navy and makes the steel structure for Armoured Personal Carriers.

Taavura-see appendix 2.2
Appendix 2.2 Subsidiary Company Structure

Taavura Holdings Ltd

http://www.taavura.com/

This company is 50% owned by Nesher, the following companies are its part or wholly owned subsidiaries. Through them, Taavura, and therefore Nesher and CRH control a significant portion of all Israeli transport, freight and construction activity. In several cases these companies have exclusive contracts to the importation of certain types of construction and transport vehicles.


Taavura group’s major activities include:

· Road haulage (Taavura, Yozma Galil, Western Galilee, Hanamal Hahadash, Hanegev & Arava and Sharon Transports): Bulk transport, car haulage, haulage of cements raw materials, rocks, aggregates, agricultural produce, containers and general cargo.

· Crane hire: Our fleet of all terrain mobile telescopic cranes is the most modern and comprehensive available, specializing in mobile crane hire up to 500 tons in capacity.

· Rigging and installation engineers.

· Heavy haulage of oversized objects utilizing modular trailers and complementary equipment to allow the movement of very large objects for shipyards, modern portal cranes, components for electrical power generation and the petrochemical industry.

· Earth Moving & Mining: Earth works for infrastructure, mining, quarrying of rock aggregates for the construction industry and road construction.

· Marine and off-shore operations: dredging of rock minerals, sea bottom deepening and underwater excavation.

· Maman Ltd.: Israel‘s air cargo terminal operator and provider of various types of logistics services in Israel and abroad. Held 77% by the Taavura Group.

· Tashtit Construction Machinery Ltd. Import, marketing and servicing of DAF trucks, VDL buses, spare parts and LIEBHERR heavy equipment (excavators & cranes).

· U.T.I. – Universal Truck Israel Ltd. import, marketing and servicing of Isuzu trucks, buses and mini-buses, GMC and Grumman trucks, through 50% partnership with UMI.

· Egged – Taavura Ltd. Public transportation operator and provider of personal and special pick-up services, through 50% partnership with Egged.

· Grand Auto d.o.o. (Croatia) Import and distribute of Ford and Jaguar cars in Croatia.

· Grand Motors (Serbia) import and distribute of Ford cars in Serbia and Montenegro.

· Albanian Motors (Albania) import and distribute of Ford cars in Albania.

· Explosive Industries Ltd. Manufacture of state-of-the-art explosives and exclusive supplier of explosives for civilian use.

· Shmerling – Synchro Energy Engineering Ltd. Import, manufacture and marketing of diesel-powered generators, Israel‘s leading company in the synchronization field, peak shaving for power station, electrical boards and control panels.

· Venta Marketing Ltd. Israel‘s leading designer and manufacturer of blowers and ventilation equipment.

· Tamig Ltd. Sole Importer of PIRELLI tires and several other brands.

· Environmental Operations:

· M.M.M. Ltd. Ganey Hadas (Duda’im) Landfill- the largest and most modern landfill in Israel.

· T.G.A. Infrastructure water and sewage infrastructure investments, waste water purification.


[1] Palestinian Centre for Human Rights ‘PCHR Submits Lawsuit against Israeli Officials via Spanish National Court’, 2008 June http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/PressR/English/2008/60-2008.html

[2] Center for Constitutional RightsCourt of Appeals dismisses CCR case against Caterpillar for deaths and injuries in Palestinian home demolitions’ http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/press-releases/court-appeals-dismisses-ccr-case-against-caterpillar-deaths-and-injuries-pal

[3] Anne Herzberg, Wall Street Journal ‘Lawfare Against Israel 2008 November  http://s.wsj.net/article/SB122583394143998285.html

[4] CRH ‘Annual Report 2008’ 2008 http://www.crh.ie/crhcorp/ir/rp/reports/2008/2009-04-02/ar2008ind/trackrecord_performance.pdf

[5] Nesher official website http://www.nesher.co.il/new_site/en/index.htm

[6] http://www.daf.co.il/?title=LIEBHERR&act=content&id=80

[7] Who profits http://www.whoprofits.org/Company%20Info.php?id=560

[8] Photos described in this paragraph are on route from Israel by post and will arrive in late July 2009, contact the project if you require them.

[9] CRH 2002 ‘CRH Annual Report’ page 11 & 12

[10] Laura Slattery ‘Goodbody lists its top stock picks for investors in coming year’ Irish Times,  2008December 13 http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2008/1213/1229035665115.html

[11] Irish Stock Exchange CRH PLC listing http://www.ise.ie/app/equityHGraph.asp?INSTRUMENT_ID=517

[12] CRH ‘CRH Annual Report 2008’ 2009

[13] http://www.aggregateresearch.com/article.aspx?id=16208; http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/2323768/

[14] Who Profits http://www.whoprofits.org/Company%20Info.php?id=598

[15] Adva, ‘Government Financing of Local Budgets: Settlements Get the Most, Arab Localities Get the Least’ 2008 http://www.adva.org/pages.asp?lang=en&navigate=5

[16] IPSC ‘Nomination for Public Eye Awards’ 2005 http://www.evb.ch/cm_data/public/CementRoadeng1.pdf

[17] Enda Leahy, ‘Church to sell €5m ‘tainted’ shares’ The Sunday Times, 2005 September 18 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/ireland/article567937.ece

[18] Enda Leahy, ‘Church to sell €5m ‘tainted’ shares’ The Sunday Times, 2005 September 18 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/ireland/article567937.ece

[19] CRH Official Website http://www.crh.com/crhcorp/divisions/

[20] Adri Nieuwhof and Maria Lherm Electronic Intifada 2007 ‘PLO takes Veolia Transport and Alstom to court in France 2007 http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9104.shtml

[21] CRH ‘Sustainable Performance and Growth – The CRH Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2007’ 2007 http://www.investis.com/crhcorp/csrpres/CSR2007.pdf

[22] CRH ‘Sustainable Performance and Growth – The CRH Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2007’ 2007 http://www.investis.com/crhcorp/csrpres/CSR2007.pdf

[23] CRH ‘CRH Annual Report 2007’ 2007 http://www.investis.com/crhcorp/csrpres/CSR2007.pdf

[24]Sustainable Performance and Growth – The CRH Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2007’ 2007 http://www.investis.com/crhcorp/csrpres/CSR2007.pdf

[25] CRH ‘CRH Annual Report 2008’ 2008

[26] CRH website http://www.crh.ie/crhcorp/media/awards

[27] Investis: http://www.investis.com/investis/clients/award/

[28] CRH ‘DNV Assurance Statement CRH plc 2007 CSR report’ 2007 http://www.crh.com/crhcorp/storage/indexed_pdfs/appendices07.pdf

[29] GRI Website http://www.globalreporting.org/CurrentPriorities/HumanRights/

[30] Storebrand Investments history section, website http://www.storebrand.no/site/stb.nsf/Pages/history.html

[31] Storebrand Investments ‘Industry Overview Construction Materials SRI’ 2007, March

http://www.bwint.org/pdfs/Industry_Overview_Construction%20Materials_March_2007.pdf?AUD=CommunitySustainability&site=CI

[32] FTSE Website‘FTSE4Good Index Series Inclusion Criteria’ 2006 http://www.ftse.com/Indices/FTSE4Good_Index_Series/Downloads/FTSE4Good_Inclusion_Criteria_Brochure_Feb_06.pdf

[33] FTSE4 Good ‘Semi-annual Review of the FTSE4Good Indices March 2006 Appendix 1’ 2006 March http://www.ftse.com/Indices/FTSE4Good_Index_Series/Downloads/FTSE4Good_March_2006_Review.pdf

[34] International Criminal Court, ‘Summary Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall

in the Occupied Palestinian Territory 2004 July 9

[35] International Court of Justice ‘Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Request for advisory opinion) Summary of the Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004’ 2004 http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/131/1677.pdf

[36] SwedWatch, ‘Illegal Ground, Assa Abloy’s business in occupied Palestinian territory’ Report No 22 2008 October

[37] International Committee of the Red Cross ‘ICRC Publication 2006  ref. 0882

Business and International Humanitarian Law: an introduction to the rights and obligations of business enterprises under international humanitarian law’ 2006

[38] Al Haq 2008 http://www.alhaq.org/pdfs/Bilin-Green%20Park.pdf

[39] Khan, Irene; Amnesty International ‘Understanding Corporate Complicity: Extending the notion beyond existing laws’ 2005

[40] Assa Abloy ‘Press release’ 2008 October

[41] Houses of the Oireachtas website http://oireachtas.ie/members-hist/default.asp

[42] Michael Brennan and Bronagh Murphy; Irish Independent ‘Anti-war group found not guilty of plane damage’ 2006 July 26 http://www.independent.ie/national-news/antiwar-group-found-not-guilty-of-plane-damage-89784.html

[43] Enda Leahy, ‘Church to sell €5m ‘tainted’ shares’ The Sunday Times, 2005 September 18 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/ireland/article567937.ece

[44] Irish Examiner Amnesty asks CRH to explain role 2004 February  http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/2004/02/19/story311813641.asp

[45] Erklärung von Bern website http://www.evb.ch/cm_data/public/Cement%20Roadstone%20PublicEye_Awards_Nomination_0.pdf

[46] Khan, Irene; Amnesty International ‘Understanding Corporate Complicity: Extending the notion beyond existing laws’ 2005

[47] CRH ‘2002 CRH Annual Report’ page 26 2002


These photos show as an Israeli house being built using Nesher products on land owned and stolen from the Palestinian towns of  Qalqiliya and Tulkarem, as well as other Palestinian villages in the occupied Palestinian Territory. The house is being built in Alfe Mensche, an illegal Israeli settlement.

A map showing the location of the settlement can be found here: http://www.poica.org/editor/case_studies/Figure-1.jpg. More detailed maps can be found at the UN website: http://www.ochaonline.un.org.

The photos are of the same house, each photo taken further away from the Nesher bags until the street can be seen. This is to illustrate that the house and Nesher products are in the settlement.


These photos show an Israeli house being built using Nesher products on land owned and stolen from the Palestinian towns of  Qalqiliya and Tulkarem, as well as other Palestinian villages in the occupied Palestinian Territory. The house is being built in Alfe Mensche, an illegal Israeli settlement.

A map showing the location of the settlement can be found here: http://www.poica.org/editor/case_studies/Figure-1.jpg. More detailed maps can be found at the UN website: http://www.ochaonline.un.org.

The photos are of the same house, each photo taken further away from the Nesher bags until the street sign is seen. This is to illustrate that the house and Nesher products are in the settlement.