Colorado Public Employees' Retirement Association, Denver, is taking the first step to divest its holdings in Unilever PLC, the parent company of Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., because of the ice cream maker's ban on sales in Israeli-occupied territories.
The $62.5 billion pension fund's board at its March 18 meeting voted to add Unilever to its restricted companies list in accordance with a 2016 Colorado law that prohibits investing in companies that take politically-related actions against Israel, the pension fund said in a statement emailed by spokesman Patrick von Keyserling.
In 2021, Ben & Jerry's posted on its website that "we believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry's ice cream to be sold in the occupied Palestinian territory."
PERA currently has $42 million invested in Unilever equities and bonds. In the statement, PERA said it would begin an engagement process with Unilever over the next 180 days and upon completion of the agreement, as applicable, PERA will divest of its holdings in the company.
Unilever officials could not be immediately reached for comment.