February 22, 2013

Veolia pays the price

This is a straight lift from Electronic Intifada partly because friends of mine were very closely involved in the No to Veolia campaign which cost Veolia so dearly (£4.7 billion) in North London and partly because there's a picture of one of those friends above the piece:

Veolia suffering "expensive" damage due to Palestine campaigners’ publicity, says financial expert

Protest in London against Veolia’s role in the Israeli occupation. (inminds.com)
For years, the French transnational Veolia has tried to downplay the effect of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns which aim to hold the company to account for its role in the Israeli occupation.
But now a top Norwegian financial advisor has boldly acknowledged the impact of the BDS movement.
Activists in many countries have pressured local authorities, public institutions, socially responsible investors and pension funds to do no business with Veolia as long as it is complicit in Israel’s violations of international law.
In a recent presentation [PDF], Hege Sjo said that “disasters are expensive” for businesses, mentioning Veolia as an example of a company that has experienced “reputational damage as a result of publicity and pending litigation” due to “operations in troubled regions. Involvement in infrastructure project in the occupied territories.”
Sjo spoke at a 8 February seminar organized by Norsif, a Norwegian association which promotes responsible and sustainable investment practices in the Norwegian financial industry.
Sjo underpinned her argument by mentioning Veolia’s alleged loss of a €3.5 billion ($4.6 billion) Swedish metro contracts in January 2009.

Senior financial adviser

It is remarkable that the observation was made by a financial expert who operates in the higher circles of the investment world.
Sjo is a senior adviser to the principle manager of the largest pension fund in the the UK, Hermes Investment Management. She is also director of several publicly listed Norwegian companies. Sjo’s warning is a clear sign to companies that profiting from Israel’s occupation carries serious reputational and financial risks.
So, stay out of occupied Palestine or risk reputational and therefore financial damage.

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