SOMO investigates multinationals. Independent, factual, and critical, we have a clear goal – a fair and sustainable world in which public interests outweigh corporate interests.
Since 1973, as the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations, we have been working towards transforming the economic system by restraining corporate power and advocating for social justice.
We carry out action-oriented research to expose the impact and unprecedented power of multinationals, and to reveal the underlying structures that underpin them.
We are a knowledge and research organisation based in Amsterdam, but we never work alone. Partnerships and alliance-building are in our DNA. Cooperating with hundreds of organisations around the world, we ensure that our influential research lands where it has the most impact – from communities and courtrooms to the desks of civil society organisations, media, and politicians.
Holding corporate power to account
The human and environmental impacts of unbridled corporate power are well documented:
- polluted water, air, and soil;
- extreme weather conditions due to climate change;
- health damage to communities and workers;
- lost livelihoods; and
- the abuse of workers in global supply chains.
Following a ‘growth at all costs’ logic, the main purpose of a corporation is to maximise value for its shareholders. This has prompted a range of questionable strategies by companies wanting to attract investors – from share buybacks and excessive dividend payments, often funded by debt, to aggressive tax planning.
Over time, corporate power has been solidified by building a massive edifice of laws, policies, narratives, and myths. The problem is a systemic one.
We have witnessed the growing efforts of civil society organisations worldwide to challenge outsized corporate power and have provided specialist data and advice. With demand growing annually, we initiated ‘The Counter’ in 2023. Your free, tailor-made corporate accountability help desk for civil society organisations and public interest journalists, tapping into more than five decades of SOMO knowledge and expertise.
Challenging corporate-driven myths
Here at SOMO, we are part of a growing movement of civic activists, non-governmental organisations, and academics who are calling for deep-rooted changes in the global economy. An essential element of the change needed is eradicating the dominant corporate logic of ‘maximising shareholder value’ – or extracting as much profit as possible from a company for shareholders. This almost always comes at the expense of workers, communities, and the planet.
Narratives and myths that keep the doors closed to alternatives lie at the heart of the current economic system. As a core element of our strategy, our work at SOMO is done in alliances to shift these narratives, debunk myths, and unlock new alternatives.
At SOMO, we work through long-established partnerships on five continents. We play a pivotal role in connecting those working on the harms caused by corporate abuse with the forums that address the structural causes. Although our advocacy work often focuses on the EU as a host jurisdiction for multinational corporations, we liaise with partners in other regions to make sure our work has the biggest possible impact.