The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) is an independent, not-for-profit research and network organisation
working on social, ecological and economic issues related to sustainable
development. Since 1973, the organisation investigates multinational
corporations and the consequences of their activities for people and the
environment around the world. More...
Increasingly popular and widely implemented sustainability certification schemes like Rainforest Alliance or UTZ Certified aim to improve the working conditions of workers on farms in developing countries producing food for Western markets. New research shows that sustainability certification indeed benefits workers, but that working conditions on certified farms are not yet on a par with internationally agreed standards. This report is the first comprehensive and independent study on the impact of sustainability certification on working conditions on large farms.
Supermarkets selling products from the illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine violate international standards and are linked to human rights violations
Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories constitute a violation of international humanitarian law, and result into serious human rights violations. However, Dutch supermarkets continue to import and sell products from those settlements, including fruits and vegetables. As a result, supermarkets profit from companies that strengthen and expand illegal settlements. In its paper 'Trading settlement products and the role of Dutch supermarkets in human rights violations' SOMO concludes that it is time for supermarkets to take responsibility and for the government to adopt binding rules.
The currently negotiated Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the US and the EU (TTIP) is higly controversial and has ignited the public debate about the costs and benefits of globalisation to society at large. In the Netherlands, concerns are raised on transparency, the growing power of big companies and the consequences for the environment. The TTIP debate is hot! But how should we view TTIP in the bigger picture around global free trade, the relation between the North and the South and the geopolitical dynamics behind free trade agreements?
From the price we pay for our electronics, little comes back to the people who dig the metal from the soil. This is also the case for cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo, an important raw material for batteries and accumulators. Congolese receive little earnings. In fact, people and nature pay a high price.
Zara does not have sufficient oversight of its supply chain. New findings of the Brazilian labour inspection, released by Repórter Brasil today, describe numerous labour rights violations in the company’s supply chain. A research report by SOMO and Repórter Brasil also released today reaches the same conclusion. In 2011, Brazilian inspectors found cases of modern-day slavery in Zara’s supply chain. After the scandal, Zara promised improvements by monitoring its supply chain more closely. The new inspection findings and the research report reveal that Zara is not living up to the agreements made with the Brazilian authorities at that time. In addition, the research report exposes Zara’s dodgy legal strategy to avoid liability for Brazilian labour rights abuses.