On any given day, I'm in deep conversation with members of the Corporate Accountability community.
I might meet with a donor like you, finding hope in our shared vision to realize democracy by curbing corporate power. Then, I'm working with our climate team located around the world, supporting their leadership as they develop organizing plans to hold polluting and extractive industries accountable. I might round it out on a call with our board chair, Akinbode Oluwafemi, in Lagos, Nigeria — a fierce organizer who we've been in movement with for a decade.
Across time zones, cultures, and roles, we are all working collectively to challenge corporate abuse. And this year, we've strengthened processes that put more power behind the work and vision of campaigners in the Global South.
(By "Global South" we mean the state of people and communities around the world, including in the U.S., who are experiencing multiple and intersecting global systems of oppression).
The stakes are high for these communities, who have long been targeted and exploited by corporations. They set the bar for the change that is necessary.
As we organize together, we employ a full set of strategies for challenging corporate power. We organize direct pressure on corporations, generate media, conduct hard-hitting research, and hold convenings to build power.
We also approach resourcing as a strategy. We do this in many ways, including through providing behind-the-scenes research, co-leading global coalitions, and direct grantmaking.
Resourcing as a strategy helps us organize toward tangible impacts — some of which you'll see in this report. I'm inspired by not only the results of this organizing, but also the connections we've built with donors like you who make this strategy possible.
Organizing is, at its heart, about relationships. In this fractured world, I hold on to this truth even when I might feel Zoom-weary. And I treasure the fact that Corporate Accountability is a community oriented around shared goals, with each of us holding a piece of this work. I'm grateful to be learning, growing, and building the world we need, together with you.
Corporate Accountability stops transnational corporations from devastating democracy, trampling human rights, and destroying our planet.
We are building a world rooted in justice where corporations answer to people, not the other way around — a world where every person has access to clean water, healthy food, a safe place to live, and the opportunity to reach their full human potential.
This year, we feature four ways we all organized together toward impact. We partnered with activists on the ground to challenge corporate abuse, won a major step forward with allies in challenging Big Polluters' influence, exposed the connections between systemic racism and corporate abuse, and challenged corporations' overt abuses and hidden agendas from their shareholders' meetings to the halls of government to the media. Read on for stories energized by your support.
You helped build power to stop the abuses of transnational corporations in frontline communities around the world. Pairing our analysis, research, and resources with the expertise and power of local, grassroots organizations adds up to unstoppable strategies for long-term wins.
Through our industry monitoring, we learned about a pending water privatization deal that would impact one million people in the Houston area. We immediately joined forces with our local ally West Street Recovery, a grassroots environmental justice group. Together, we sounded the alarm about the private water industry's track record of rate hikes, labor abuse, and dangerous cost-cutting. Our joint efforts paid off, garnering high-impact media that drew connections between the current privatization threat and ongoing criminal investigations into a water privatizer that already operated in another section of the city. After weeks of local outrage, city officials canceled that existing privatization contract. Together, we made a big step forward. And we're seizing on the momentum to ensure that all of Houston's water system stays in public hands.
Throughout Latin America, many communities face similar struggles — corporations poison the land and water while threatening activists with violence. This year, we brought together Indigenous leaders and organizers from diverse communities to develop strong regional plans for movement building, research, communications, and policy work. We are building a powerful global movement to Make Big Polluters Pay. Supporting a united front in a region historically exploited by Big Polluters advances global climate justice and strengthens the solidarity and scaffolding driving this transformative international movement.
This year, for Anti-Chevron Day, you made it possible for us to amplify the demands of communities directly affected by Chevron’s abuses for a greater impact than ever. We shared the might of our corporate research; participated in global and virtual events that raised awareness; and mobilized our members to take action.
In Richmond, California, we supported a day of action and participated in the True Cost of Chevron coalition alongside Amazon Watch, Rainforest Action Network, Richmond Our Power Coalition, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), and others. Around the world, we mobilized people to demand that BlackRock, one of Chevron’s biggest investors and shareholders, divest.
And, with organizers from the Union of Communities Affected by Texaco/Chevron (UDAPT) and the Mapuche Confederation of Neuquén, we joined forces to share their communities' stories and ongoing work to challenge the corporation, via video and a press conference.
During that week, our social media posts alone reached millions of people. Together, we amplified our message and made sure that Chevron executives were faced with a clear and growing global call to stop abusing our land and water and pay for its widespread abuses.
Nearly a decade ago, we began partnering with our allies in Lagos, Nigeria to stop water privatization. Now the Our Water, Our Right Africa Coalition spans the entire continent. With your support, on World Water Day, we and our allies mobilized thousands of people through community meetings, delegations to government officials, digital and in-person actions, and more. Together, we are challenging water privatization and building a world where everyone has access to safe water.
Corporate Accountability's Movement Solidarity Fund moves financial resources to campaign organizations and liberatory movements that are challenging corporate power and advancing justice. The fund aims to advance change by leveraging the power and resources that we have access to in the Global North and directing them to our collaborators and leaders on the front lines of corporate abuse. It is a vital strategy not only to win our campaigns, but also to build movements to create transformational change.
With your support, the global campaign to Kick Big Polluters Out of climate action won a critical step forward this year: at last, attendees of the global climate treaty meetings will be required to declare their affiliations for all the world to see.
It should be obvious: those who profit from climate destruction cannot write climate policy. But for decades, fossil fuel lobbyists and other Big Polluter representatives have shown up at the U.N. climate talks often under the radar, undermining progress with impunity.
This victory is a crucial step on the long road to ending Big Polluters' stranglehold and advancing true climate justice. And it's been years in the making: a coalition of 450 organizations strong. Hard-hitting research and media exposure. Years of people like you taking action. And, most recently, more than 130 elected officials in the U.S. and EU — which have historically advanced Big Polluters' agenda at these meetings — publicly demanding change from their own obstructionist governments.
Now that we know exactly who is at the table, we’re mobilizing even more like-minded organizations to join the campaign to Kick Big Polluters Out. With Big Polluters exposed, we also have more power to hold them accountable for their abuses and continue building momentum for our campaign to Make Big Polluters Pay. Together with allies, we’re making major strides in advancing meaningful, equitable solutions for climate justice around the globe. And you made it possible.
To effect transformative, lasting change, we have to confront and expose the harmful interplay between race, class, and corporate abuse. The Black Collective, a program created and led by Black staff at Corporate Accountability, educates our staff and community around the world on how corporate power was built on systemic racism and has depended on racist actions to grow over time. It also mobilizes people to take action.
From Chevron allegedly poisoning the air and land in predominantly-Black Richmond, California, and Indigenous communities in Latin America to water contamination destroying the water infrastructure and security of Black communities in the U.S. — profit-fueled corporations exploit communities of color around the globe. We and our allies in the U.S., Africa, and Latin America grow stronger when we share and learn from our experiences challenging racist, classist corporate tactics. And through the Black Collective, we’re building and deepening partnerships with Black-led organizations around the country to hold corporations accountable for their racist actions.
For 45 years, we've exposed and challenged corporations' destruction of people's health and our planet, successfully holding corporate abuse to account. Our victories open doors and set precedents for progress — like our organizing to kick Big Tobacco out of global public health policy, which has paved the way for our climate campaigning. And it's all possible thanks to you.
From the Bay Area to the Amazon, Chevron pollutes, extracts from, and harms communities. And, it uses junk schemes to cover up its abuses and greenwash its image. As part of a global week of action, led by communities most harmed by Chevron’s abuses, we published a hard-hitting report that exposed its schemes. The Guardian published an exclusive article on this research, influencing people around the world including Al Gore, who mentioned it in a widely-viewed TED talk.
When we learned that one of the world's most abusive tobacco corporations had formed a partnership with the government of Canada, we jumped into action. Together with our partners at Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Canada, as well as allies around the globe, we exposed this scheme for what it was: yet another attempt to deflect attention from Big Tobacco's harms and give Philip Morris International (PMI) a foothold with international policymakers — in blatant violation of the guidelines of the global tobacco treaty. And this year, Canada kicked PMI out of the partnership, in a huge win for public health and corporate accountability.
Now, as we look forward to the next treaty meetings, we're partnering with government officials, liability experts, allied organizations, and people around the world to elevate the call to Make Big Tobacco Pay, putting accountability for Big Tobacco center stage. As we celebrate the 30-year anniversary of this precedent-setting campaign, we're feeling more energized than ever. Not only has our tobacco campaign set a roadmap for the larger corporate accountability movement, but it's also proven that it is possible to kick corporations out.
Big Food and Big Soda are manipulating global health policies to protect their profit — at the expense of our health, the environment, and more. This year, we and our allies spoke truth to power at shareholders' meetings for Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and McDonald's. We demanded these corporations fully disclose all their global political spending — a crucial first step in securing accountability for their problematic political activities. We also produced new research on effective Global South-led activism and policy focused on protecting public health from the food industry's influence and manipulation. And we won't stop there. We'll keep organizing to ensure this research advances strong health policies in the U.S. and around the world, stops corporate abuse of our food systems, and moves us toward a world where all people are nourished.
This year we came together, connected through our shared vision for a better world — a world where we care for each other and the planet. Here, we celebrate just a few of the people in the Corporate Accountability community. We are inspired by the impact we can have when we connect our passion and power toward transformation.
People joining together to take collective action around the world can create powerful change. Together we are stronger than any of us acting alone. Our shared impact is possible because of the many people who resource this work with their time, financial support, connections, and more. With support from individuals like you, committed to shaping a world where everyone can thrive, we have the political independence and the strength that we need to be bold and strategic.
Anna Mudd spends considerable time thinking about the deeper, more existential issues around social justice. At Harvard Divinity School, she educates high school teachers on integrating the principles of religion and social justice into their teaching. A self-described kid of community organizers, Anna grew up discussing community building at the dinner table and came to take exposure to organizing wisdom as a given.
She is keenly aware that this is not the case for everyone. She has seen how the dominant pro-corporate narrative in our society has left some of her friends feeling hopeless and disempowered. Anna’s donor involvement with Corporate Accountability connects her deep learnings and existential questioning with actual tools for movement building. And through organized approaches, like co-hosting a virtual house party, she can now share more strategically to empower others.
"It's been such a gift to have the opportunity to expose friends and folks in my family to how collective action can precisely and strategically push back against these abstract structural powers."
Terry Winograd started contemplating social and political issues as a student in the late sixties, during a time of global rebellion. "It wasn't just about love and peace and harmony, but also equity, justice, and political values," he shared. As a computer science student, he helped organize the local chapter of Computer People for Peace and remains dedicated to examining the role of technology in social justice and activism.
Terry uses his social and financial capital, earned during the tech boom, to support both political campaigns and activist organizations like Corporate Accountability. As he sees it, the two powers that run the world are governments and corporations. Having been engaged with Corporate Accountability since its early days organizing boycotts against Nestle, he appreciates that we're a global-focused organization challenging corporations directly.
"We're fighting a foe who is well entrenched, well-funded, and needs to be stopped. What makes Corporate Accountability's approach appealing is directly naming the bad actors and being clear about what we — people all over the world — are doing to stop them."
monthly donors have been sustaining us for five years or more
in matching funds unlocked thanks to 1,480 people who stretched their giving with us this year
people took action on multiple campaigns
people discussed our campaigns with our organizers and how to get more deeply involved
We continue to build and deepen our relationships with some of the world's most skilled organizers and powerful corporate campaigners to advance the shared mission of corporate accountability. Many of the allies we work closely with come from and represent communities most targeted and exploited by corporations. Meet a few of the organizers below.
Over 30 years ago, Pablo Fajardo's Amazonian community went up against Chevron in a landmark case over crimes committed in the Ecuadorian Amazon. That's when he decided to become a lawyer. All the local lawyers were representing the corporations. So no one stepped in to defend the rights of the communities who lost their land due to oil pollution. With the support and small contributions of his fellow farmers, Pablo attended school at night earning the degrees to legally represent the people.
For Pablo, the strength and energy to stand against corporate abuse stems from the earth, the generations of community members who have cared for the land, and the wisdom cultivated by grassroots movements. With UDAPT, a founding participant in Anti-Chevron Week, he is on a mission to make the Amazon a place where the Indigenous people have the human right to live a life of dignity.
Pablo started working with Corporate Accountability in Geneva many years ago on human rights treaties. Now, he also works with the Latin America climate team to strengthen the movement to Make Big Polluters Pay in the region, building connections between organizers facing similar struggles and creating space to strategize and support one another.
"We need to unite the strength between the folks in the Global North and the Global South so companies and industries learn to respect life, no matter where they operate. If we don't do something real and strong right now, we will leave a world of struggle for future generations."
Ben Hirsch has been involved with West Street Recovery since its founding as an informal collective response to the impact of Hurricane Harvey on a historically Black ward in Houston. After the hurricane, a disproportionate number of Black homes endured severe sewage and water problems with almost no city response. This pattern of injustice recurred repeatedly after natural disasters. Like Corporate Accountability, West Street Recovery thinks the commodification of essential resources, profit maximization, and white supremacy are at the root of the current environmental crises.
When Corporate Accountability reached out to Ben and his team about a pending water privatization threat in the city, it didn't take long for a partnership to take hold. He knows privatized water means profit will be the main motive of the private water corporation, not universal access. And he recognizes that Corporate Accountability is "appropriately mad about the privatization of water" when issues around utility justice can often be abstract, especially in the aftermath of a disaster.
"You have really good values and you're really motivated," Ben says of Corporate Accountability's team. "Your eyes are on the prize. And the prize is not ‘let's talk, talk, talk about water privatization.' The prize for Corporate Accountability is ‘let's stop water from being privatized.'"
Here are just a few of the many organizations across the globe we work with toward a world where we all have the chance to thrive.
As part of our work to advance international policies that hold corporations accountable, we maintain official relations with the following United Nations agencies:
The World Health Organization (WHO)
The Secretariat of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Corporate Accountability is made up of organizers from many backgrounds and places around the world. The range of perspectives and experience brought by our board, staff, and team of organizers ensures we're campaigning creatively and building toward a world where everybody thrives.
This fiscal year marked the second of three years of planned investment to move resources swiftly towards our mission in the context of a sound cash position.
Together, we're building a world where corporations answer to people, not the other way around. And that's only possible when we are connected with people like you around the world, taking collective action to create concrete change rooted in justice. We're grateful to be in community with you!