"A U.S. company that provides information on investments has taken Caterpillar off three of its environmentally and socially responsible investment indexes, citing controversy over the Israeli military using its bulldozers in Palestinian territories as one of the reasons.
MSCI Inc. said Caterpillar was downgraded earlier this year because of several concerns, including a January labor dispute in Canada, environmental issues, employee safety and "an ongoing controversy associated with use of the company’s equipment in the occupied Palestinian territories."
The dropped environmental and social rating led Caterpillar to be removed from several of its investment lists.
Pro-Palestinian activists who have urged boycotts cheered the move. Since the downgrade, the TIAA-CREF financial services firm divested itself of $72 million in Caterpillar stock, dwarfing earlier divestments by smaller groups, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
TIAA-CREF told the agency that it had not been moved by activist pressure, but that the decision was tied directly to its "social screen vendor," MSCI."