Boulder, Colorado
Boulder, Colorado iStock

Colorado’s pension fund on Friday initiated a divestment from Unilever over subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s Israel boycott.

The Public Employees’ Retirement Association oversees a $61 billion portfolio, which included $42 million invested in Unilever, the Denver Post reported.

The move was made based a 2016 state law that made it illegal for state institutions to invest in international companies that economically boycott Israel. The law only applies to corporations that have stated their reasons for boycotting Israel are politically motivated.

Because Ben & Jerry’s said when their boycott was announced in the summer that it was motivated by a political stance – “It is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” – for the state law applied in this case and the pension fund began the divestment process.

The pension fund’s governing board voted unanimously on Friday for the divestment.

“Long story short, Ben and Jerry’s has made comments that are politically motivated, for leaving Israel,” Amy McGarrity, the fund’s chief investment officer, told the board before it voted. “We will engage with the company for the next 180 days, and if we still continue to believe they are subject to divestment, then we will divest within 12 months.”