GES Newsletter
August 30, 2013

In April 2013, GES travelled to Israel and Palestine to gain a better insight into the region’s complex situation. The trip was intense and rewarding at the same time and GES shared some of its experiences with clients in a webinar held last week.

Following extensive preparations, Aurora Samuelsson and Flemming Hedén, GES Senior Engagement Managers, travelled to Israel and Palestine region together with four investors for a week. The aim of the trip was to gain a better understanding of the situation and to deepen and improve the ongoing engagement dialogue with several Israeli and multinational companies. During the week the group had more than 20 meetings with both Israeli and Palestinian companies, Israeli and Palestinian NGO’s, Israeli authorities, Palestinian workers, Israeli unions, Palestinian investors and also check point visits and a tour to an Israeli settlement.

GES has through this trip gained valuable knowledge that could not have been obtained without going to Israel and Palestine and meeting with the people living and working there. One of the highlights of the trip was a rewarding and positive round table discussion with several Israeli banks. Other valuable experiences was meeting with Palestinian workers and observing a small glimpse of their everyday life while standing together in the queue to go through a check point, or listening to the personal experiences of an Israeli CEO living in Ashkelon being woken up by bomb alarms at night.

As a result of the trip, without changing GES’ overall assessment fundamentally, the precision in responsible investors’ demands has increased. Also, the lack of response from one company, in spite of extensive efforts by GES, resulted in a recommendation to exclude it since its good faith with responsible investors is no longer credible. On the other hand, six out of eight companies in the region previously rated in GES engagement process as low performers, have improved their rating due to the positive progress in the engagement dialogue.,

“The trip is the beginning rather than the end of our engagement and it is a very good starting point for further dialogue.” Aurora Samuelsson commented in the webinar. From an investor point of view the region is a complex hot spot that will not go away anytime soon and investors need to engage even more in this issue. “GES took the approach of digging deep into the facts to understand as much as possible and it proved fruitful”, added Flemming Hedén.

For further information, please contact:
Aurora Samuelsson, Senior Engagement Manager