The working group was created in 2019 as a part of the Global Campaign Against Corporate Impunity.
In six words, our goal is: Rights for People, Rules for Corporations. Our aim is to undermine the mechanisms of corporate power which allow transnational companies (TNC’s) to destroy nature, livelihoods and communities around the globe without limits or consequences.
Investors’ and corporate rights are enshrined in the so-called ‘free’ trade agreements made between countries around the world. Many of these trade agreements contain clauses which give corporations access to Investor-State Dispute Settlement courts outside the jurisdiction of both the country in which they invested and their home country. These “ISDS” clauses allow TNC’s to sue States for damaged profits due to democratic decisions regarding public health, the climate, education and so forth. For example, Vattenfal, a Swedish power company, sued Germany for billions of euros when Germany passed legislation eliminating nuclear power after public outcry following the Fukushima incident. Sweden’s democracy is also falling victim to these mechanisms. The Swedish government is currently being sued by an Australian energy company for banning uranium extraction, a decision made in May, 2019 when Parliament passed an amendment to the Environmental Code banning mining and exploration of uranium within its borders.
ISDS clauses put cases of environmental and social injustice into private investment courts whose procedures are not transparent and whose lawyers and judges know only corporate law, with no space for human rights or equity.
Free Trade is not free. The human costs are incalculable. The environmental costs are immeasurable. The only beneficiaries are shareholders and CEOs and the people almost always lose.
We work to end this corrupt system. We do this in two ways:
Campaigning- spreading information to and informing the public about the issue and how to stop it.
Advocating- pushing politicians for relevant legal and political measures to check corporate power.
Our main focus is to pressure Sweden to take an active part in the negotiations for a UN Binding Treaty on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights which would:
-Give Human Rights primacy over investors’ rights and profits
-Create and enforce direct obligations for TNC’s
-Address issues of global supply chains, placing responsibility for every step in production with the parent company
-Establish an international court to handle cases of this nature
-Give rights to communities affected by corporations’ irresponsible and unethical actions
At this point Sweden is in essence boycotting this Treaty by rejecting to comment or participate. Read more here.
If this topic interests (or enrages!) you like it does us, send us an email or come to our meetings! We meet every other Thursday (odd weeks) at 17:30 at the JV office.
For more information on the global campaign see the following site: stopisds.org