About SOMO

About SOMO’s research and finances

About working for SOMO

What does the abbreviation SOMO stand for?

SOMO stands for Stichting Onderzoek Multinationale Ondernemingen, the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations.

What is SOMO’s history?

In the early 1970s, many Dutch people supported the democratic reforms of Chilean President Allende. Efforts to democratise the Chilean economy, however, were threatened by the manipulations of (mainly US) multinational corporations with interests in Chile. In 1973, the Allende government was violently overthrown which resulted in widespread critism of multinationals in the Netherlands and around the world. Several organisations and sympathisers decided to establish a research bureau to monitor the activities and interests of multinationals operating in so-called ‘Third World’ countries. SOMO (Stichting Onderzoek Multinationale Ondernemingen, the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations) was established in 1973. Two of the organisations involved in founding SOMO were X-Y Beweging and Sjaloom.

What is SOMO trying to achieve?

With our research, services and involvement in networks we aim to contribute to social, environmental and economic sustainability. Read more in our mission and vision and in our strategic plan.

What does SOMO actually achieve?

Because SOMO integrates knowledge and action, our research can be used for lobbying and campaigns of civil society organisations and networks. Reports from SOMO regularly play a role in the decision making of national and international policy makers. Through research and verification, we also open dialogues with companies. In many cases they respond and take steps to improve the situation.

How can I get the latest news from SOMO?

Sign up for our newsletter and stay up-to-date about SOMO’s activities and publications.

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If you would like to receive our alerts and press releases, send an e-mail to [email protected].

What does SOMO itself do in terms of sustainability?

Sustainability is central to SOMO’s vision of a better world and, as an organisation, we seek to lead by example. SOMO’s sustainability policy includes:

  • Sustainable travel: SOMO supports employees’ use of public transport by reimbursing their public transport commuting costs. For work-related travel, employees may fly only if the destination is more than 700 kilometres from Amsterdam.
  • Sustainable purchasing: SOMO works to ensure that all its purchases are as sustainably produced as possible. In the case of hardware, the choice of supplier is based on the company’s sustainability record. SOMO reports on its sustainability policy in its annual report.
  • Sustainable relationships with freelancers and other partners.

What are the bank details of SOMO?

  • Bank name: Triodos
  • Account number: NL 56 TRIO 0198 4077 77
  • BIC code: TRIONL2U
  • VAT number: NL 002 954 631 B01
  • Chamber of Commerce registration number: 412 233 08

How is SOMO funded?

Most of SOMO’s funding comes from government grants and from private foundations. We also receive grants for the network’s we host (MVO Platform, GoodElectronics, and OECD Watch) and contributions from network members.

A small portion of our income comes from payment for research and other services commissioned by civil society organisations and public institutions. We charge VAT for these services.

SOMO does not accept funds from corporations or corporate foundations. Read more

How independent is SOMO?

We are fully independent. We do not accept funding that restricts our independence in any way. We are a non-profit mission-driven organisation: our research and activities are carried out on the basis of our mission and serve the public interest.

Does SOMO work on demand or are projects started at its own initiative?

Both. SOMO is a social organisation which works on the basis of its mission and through cooperation in networks and consultation with partner organisations to gain a clear picture of the projects and activities needed to stimulate sustainable socio-economic development.

What services does SOMO offer?

Yes. In addition to our own programming, we also provide services to civil society organisations and public or semi-public institutions. We are a leading expert on the impact of the private sector on sustainable development. We provide research, training and advice to clients about corporations, corporate partnerships, supply chains, sector dynamics, human rights and grievance mechanisms, and many other topics.

What can SOMO do for companies who want to act responsibly?

Companies that aim for corporate social responsibility can find valuable information in our publications about social, environmental and human rights issues that may arise in various supply chains and sectors. Companies should review relevant reports and other publications as part of analyses of potential violations of international standards. In addition, SOMO’s research often provides an important insight into the needs and concerns of stakeholders, particularly in developing countries. SOMO also makes recommendations regarding the organisation and implementation of multi-stakeholder initiatives.

Does SOMO provide grants?

SOMO is not a grantmaking organisation. However, SOMO does participate frequently in jointly funded projects. In such cases, project partners are involved from the start of the project, in the application phase. In certain cases, SOMO may seek partners to carry out small, targeted (parts of) research projects. The conditions of these projects are described in a tender, which is published on our website.

Does SOMO have a Code of Conduct for its research?

Yes. In our Code of Conduct, we make explicit the principles for the research we do and the research done by others on SOMO’s behalf. These principles include effectiveness, independence, reliability, protection of sources, quality, transparency, cooperation, right of reply, and accountability.

What can I do if I have a complaint about the working methods of SOMO?

If you have a complaint, or want to give feedback on our work, please let us know by using the online complaint form or by sending us a letter. A full explanation of the complaints procedure can be found in SOMO’s Code of Conduct.

How can I work for SOMO?

We advertise vacancies on our own website and on www.oneworld.nl. If there are no vacancies listed on the site and you are interested in working for SOMO as an employee or freelancer, send a letter of interest along with your CV to [email protected] or contact Maureen Winkelman.

Does SOMO offer internships and/or final year projects?

On average, we have five internship postions at a time. These vary from research to network coordination to communication to financial administration.

We regularly publish internship vacancies on our website and at oneworld.nl. If you have a clear idea of work you would like to do as an intern at SOMO, send a letter of interest along with your CV to [email protected] or contact Maureen Winkelman.

Final year research projects cannot be carried out as a SOMO internship, since internships are always linked to current projects and activities.