Morningstar Financial Services Firm Announces New Steps to Fight Anti-Israel Bias
November 2, 2022
The Chicago-based Morningstar financial services firm announced new commitments this week to ensure its products are free of anti-Israel bias.
In June, after the conclusion in June of an independent investigation conducted by White & Case (W&C) LLP, Morningstar acknowledged that its Sustainalytics Human Rights Radar exhibited bias about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and discontinued the product. Morningstar also reiterated its opposition to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
In July, the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), Jewish Federations of North America, American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, Christians United for Israel, Hadassah, Jewish Funders Network, JLens, and The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law published a joint letter calling for further action by Morningstar.
On Monday, at the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly in Chicago, Morningstar announced it would take the following steps:
- bar the use of biased and unreliable sources from its reporting, such as the UN Human Rights Council and WhoProfits;
- use geographic names (e.g., West Bank, East Jerusalem) in relevant regions, rather than terms such as “Occupied Palestinian Territory” or “occupied territory.”
- provide guidance to analysts ensuring that businesses operating in Israeli-Palestinian conflict areas or contributing to Israel’s defense against terrorism are not treated as de facto violators of human rights;
- remove references to the BDS campaign;
- provide ongoing anti-bias and antisemitism training to relevant staff;
- bring in independent experts to ensure ESG ratings do not single out and discriminate against Israel or hold it to a different standard than other countries;
- review and update existing data and analysis to align with the commitments described above.
CAM Advisory Board Member Elan S. Carr stated, “We are thankful that Morningstar has engaged in this ongoing process with Jewish community leaders and appreciate the company’s commitments to change its sources and methods. We are eager to see these changes yield bottom-line results in Morningstar’s ratings, watchlists, and engagements relating to companies doing business in Israel.”