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...
New research by SOMO reveals that the amount of children working in artisanal gold mining is growing rapidly. In Mali for example, there was an estimated increase from 20,000 to 200,000 children working in artisanal gold mining in the last couple of years. Worldwide, more than one million children work in artisanal gold mining. The electronics industry is the third largest user of gold for the production of mobile phones, computers and other consumer electronics. However, the sector is not taking any steps to eradicate child labour from gold mining, while the probability is high that this gold ends up in their products. This, despite the fact that the sector has proven to be capable to set up and lead initiatives that concern the far end of their production chain, as is the case with conflict minerals.
Scholars, journalists and activists gathered in early November at the launch of a report titled ‘Reconquering and dispossession in the Altillanura: The case of Poligrow’ in Bogota. The study, authored by SOMO and INDEPAZ, concludes that land-intensive sectors like palm oil are at risk of creating renewed conflict in a country like Colombia, where land disputes have been a key driver of the internal armed conflict, and where territorial claims remain highly contested. When conducting business operations in the region, caution is warranted. Poligrow should have, for instance, carried out extensive research into the history of the land that they are making use of, including the role of the military. More specifically, the company should have evaluated the possible impact of the support they are receiving from the army. By failing to do so, they have risked fuelling the armed conflict in an already fragile context such as the Meta region in Colombia.
Today, SOMO and TNI launch a knowledge quiz about ISDS & TTIP. The quiz is meant to raise critical awareness of ISDS and TTIP. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is currently at the heart of the political debate. Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) has emerged as one of the most controversial elements in this trade and investment agreement.
In the context of crucial agenda-setting moments in 2015, including the December meeting of COP21 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the role of the financial sector is increasingly being questioned. The incorporation of social and environmental aspects into the financial sector is one of the responses. This means that the financial system would not only be financially stable – which has been a focus of many recent financial reforms – but would also serve the needs of societies and economies that develop in an equitable, inclusive and environmentally sustainable way.
This week, the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding officially launches its brochure ‘International Standards for Responsible Business in Conflict Affected and Fragile environments’, providing a concise overview of some of the key standards that can help businesses operate responsibly in conflict-affected and fragile environments.