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...
Since the start of the financial crisis, various international fora such as the G20 and the OECD discussed tackling the risks of the shadow banking system. This financial system consists of the issuance and trading of credit outside of the regulated banking system. It operates parallel to the conventional system. Because of the interdependence between the two banking systems, systemic risks in the shadow banking sector are also risks to the regular banking system. The SOMO publication Schaduwbankieren en belastingontwijking (Shadow banking and tax evasion) outlines the problematic nature of the shadow banking system and highlights the Dutch role within it.
The Finnish company Nokia used to be the charming ‘girl next door’ among the telecoms. But the takeover by Microsoft has changed it all. It’s the Vietnamese and Indian workers assembling the mobile phones who are now the dupes.
Human rights abuses by companies are regularly covered by the media: think of the Nigerian farmers whose land is contaminated through the oil extraction activities of among others, Shell; the murders and threats to Colombian union leaders which reportedly oppose the mining company Drummond; or employees in unsafe textile factories in Bangladesh who manufacture for brands such as Benetton. The Netherlands should actively seek to put an end to the impunity that characterises these abuses. And it should do so by using a ‘smart mix’ of judicial and non-judicial measures.
Much of the coal used to provide the Netherlands with energy comes from controversial Colombian mining projects. SOMO’s briefing paper ‘Colombian coal in Europe’ firstly charts which role European energy suppliers play in this and how their supply chains look. The paper shows that there are still many structural problems in the Colombian mines and that there is a chronic lack of transparency in the coal supply chain. Furthermore, the import operations of the Italian company Enel, a large European importer of Colombian coal, are examined in a case study.
According to a leaked document, the EU is bent on using the TTIP negotiations with the US to get an agreement on financial regulation that, according to the analysis by Kenneth Haar of Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and Myriam Vander Stichele of The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) will weaken reform and control of the financial sector.