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Domini Responds to the Darfur Crisis
Guided by our Global Investment Standards and our own research, Domini seeks to avoid investing in companies whose activities provide direct or substantial indirect benefits to the Sudanese government, or that are otherwise complicit in human rights abuses in Sudan.
Domini’s Global Investment Standards express our shareholders’ fundamental commitment to universal human dignity. In considering companies for investment by the Domini Funds, we look closely at human rights practices in countries where those companies are active, and at companies’ interactions with governments with poor human rights records. (For more information, please see “Acknowledgement of Human Rights” under our Global Community standards.)
The Darfur crisis obliges investors to look closely at not just whether, but also how, a company is pursuing its business activities in Sudan. In our evaluation, Domini considers a variety of factors to understand the nature and extent of a company’s activities, including whether it operates primarily inside or outside government stronghold areas, whether the company has supported the efforts of humanitarian organizations working to address human rights abuses in Sudan, and whether the company has been transparent about its operations and their impacts.
Based on this evaluation, we seek to avoid investing in companies that do business in Sudan in cases where Domini has determined that the company’s activities provide certain direct benefits to the government of Sudan, particularly in the areas of oil, mining, electricity infrastructure and military or where, in our view, the company is otherwise complicit in human rights abuses in Sudan. For these companies, our analysis will focus on each company’s degree of involvement with the Sudanese government, and its response to the crisis in Darfur.
In certain cases we may seek to use our leverage as shareholders to obtain more information, or to influence the company’s behavior in Sudan before selling our shares. We will generally not invest in a company that violates the standards outlined above for the sole purpose of engaging in shareholder activism.
Domini is a founding member of the Conflict Risk Network, and a member of that organization’s advisory board. Domini also maintains close contact withother investors and human rights organizations working to address the Darfur genocide.
Below is a selection of other steps Domini has taken to address the crisis in Darfur:
- April 2005: More than 1,200 Domini shareholders and others responded to Domini’s Action Alert in support of the Darfur Accountability Act, which called for a UN Security Council resolution to impose sanctions on the government of Sudan, including an arms embargo, a military no-fly zone, increased assistance to African Union peacekeepers, and the prosecution of those responsible for the genocide. Messages were sent to the President, State Department, U.N. Ambassador and Congressional representatives. (In October 2006, the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act was signed into law. Among other sanctions, it freezes the assets of people guilty of violence and genocide in Darfur, and denies entry at U.S. ports to oil tankers that have carried Sudanese oil.)
- 2007: Domini participates in meetings with JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup andMerrill Lynch to discuss the banks’ responses to the crisis in Darfur. The meetings, which included other social investment firms, Amnesty International and the Genocide Intervention Network, resulted in Citigroup adopting a formal policy on Sudan.
- September 10, 2008: Domini briefs the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on what investors can do to implement policies addressing genocide and other crimes against humanity. We were the only financial services representative present at the briefing. Read Domini’s oral and written testimony.
- May 2009: Domini becomes a founding member, and joins the Advisory Board, of the Conflict Risk Network (CRN), the successor organization to the Sudan Divestment Task Force. CRN is a network of high-net individual and institutional investors, seeking to mitigate conflict risk around the world and increase responsible foreign investment. CRN conducts in-depth research on corporate activity in Sudan and engages with companies to address their activities in conflict zones.
- 2010: Domini participates in a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on the effectiveness of the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act. In addition to responding to questions from GAO staff, we provided the GAO with the list of companies that fail our Sudan policy, one of only three entities to do so. The GAO’s final report recommended that the SEC require companies to disclose information about their operations in Sudan.
- November 2010: Domini testifies before the House Committee on Financial Services’ subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade on what investors and regulators can do about genocide and other human rights abuses. The hearing focused on the GAO findings noted above. Domini encouraged congress to recommend that the SEC require companies to disclose more information about their human rights performance. Read Domini’s oral and written testimony, or watch the webcast of the full hearing (select “Archived Webcast” in the middle of the page).
- November 2010: Domini joins CRN in writing to 18 oil & gas and telecommunications companies operating in Sudan, asking the companies to take steps to ensure protection of human rights during the upcoming public referenda.
Domini may change its investment standards at any time, and will publish any material changes to this policy on our website. This page was last updated in February 2011.
You should consider the Domini Funds' investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing. View or order a copy of the Funds' current prospectus for more complete information on these and other topics. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing or sending money.
DSIL Investment Services LLC, Distributor. 02/11