We are thrilled to announce that SOMO is setting up a pro bono investigations unit to help activists counter corporate power!
The Counter, which will go live in a few months, will be a global ‘helpdesk’ offering corporate research and company data to activists working to hold companies that cause social harms and environmental destruction to account.
SOMO has been investigating companies and providing corporate research to environmental and human rights activists for decades, but thanks to a generous grant from the Dutch Postcode Lottery, we are now able to scale up our operations and set up The Counter.
SOMO’s corporate research starts with ‘following the money’, and at The Counter we will dig into corporate and capital structures, ownership and investors, operations, finances, and governance to help build a file with evidence that can be used in an investigation, court case, or campaign. Transparency, truth, justice, and remedy, is what we strive for at The Counter.
Roberta Cowan, Corporate Researcher at SOMO: “As someone who, for years, has been digging up company data and providing corporate research to communities and activists bravely challenging corporate abuses, I am excited about what we will be able to achieve with The Counter. I have seen first-hand how transparency, solid evidence, and a paper-trail can be radically disruptive when standing up to corporate giants.”
Years of unregulated corporate expansion, where multinationals set up subsidiaries and shell companies around the world to expand into new markets, dodge tax, lower costs, and undermine labour standards, has resulted in countless environmental catastrophes, abuses of workers’ rights, the deliberate obfuscation of supply chains, and widespread corporate impunity.
The Counter will not only dig up vital data and corporate information, it will advise and help strategize with activists, communities, lawyers, and journalists about using the data where it will be most effective, including in public campaigns, with regulators, in courtrooms, and in the media.
As you can tell, we are super excited about the potential of The Counter, and we hope you are too! Over the coming months we will be hiring the additional staff and developing the systems necessary to deliver an initiative of this scale. This will include a series of introductory webinars during 2023. You can stay connected as we roll out The Counter, by signing up here to receive regular updates.
For now, please help us get the word out by:
Forwarding this email to your colleagues and networks
SOMO has just published some important new research and an exciting story visualization with insightful infographics on the “battery boom” currently taking place around the globe. The story raises serious questions about the extent of mineral consumption, where these resources come from and, crucially, who consumes them. We hope the report helps influence the debate around the Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) and encourages the reduction of mineral consumption by moving away from car dependency towards active and shared transport and fewer and smaller cars. We’ve put in a session proposal to the OECD on this for the upcoming OECD Responsible Minerals Forum.
24 January 2023 marks one year since Bach was handed a heavy 5 year prison term on spurious charges of ‘tax evasion.’ Bach is one of several civil society leaders in Vietnam who has been arrested in the last couple of years after working to transition the country off coal and protect communities from pollution and other public health hazards.
To raise Bach’s public profile and escalate the international call for his release, International Rivers have launched this website and social media campaign [www.standwithbach.org]. The website contains information about Bach and other environmental defenders recently jailed in Vietnam, calls on governments, UN agencies and others to demand his release, and provides simple ways for the public to take action in support of the #StandwithBach campaign.
We are asking supporters of the ‘Stand with Bach’ campaign to:
– Share campaign messages through your social media networks from now through the one-year anniversary of Bach’s sentencing on January 24. Please see our sample social media posts and downloadable video and images HERE.
– Encourage your networks and partners to also share the website and social media posts.
Today, Recourse and partner organisations BankTrack, Heinrich Boell Foundation Washington DC, OilChange International, and TrendAsia publish a new report highlighting principles and actions that International Financial Institutions (IFIs) need to observe in order to align their financial intermediary investments with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and to go further – to tackle the climate crisis.
The report comes at a time when pressure is mounting on IFIs to ensure their operations are consistent with Paris goals as the deadline for alignment nears. Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) committed to fully align their operations with Paris with a deadline of July 2023 for direct finance and a later deadline of 2025 for indirect investments. The IFC has promised to consult publicly on its Paris alignment methodology.
“Financial intermediary lending remains a potentially big loophole where fossil fuel financing continues to flow,” said Mark Moreno Pascual from Recourse. “There needs to be greater transparency in financial intermediary lending in order for civil society and project-affected communities to hold IFIs accountable for investments detrimental to people and planet.”
Andri Prasetiyo from TrendAsia based in Indonesia said: “The fact that the IFC’s first green equity client financed the Java 9 and 10 coal complexes in Indonesia without IFC even knowing is reason enough for IFIs to seriously think about and review their lending practices. We demand accountability from the World Bank for the harms they have caused, and corrective measures must be put in place to ensure this does not happen again and justice is served for local communities who bore the brunt of the consequences.”