Putting together the annual report always comes with moments of reflection and looking back on a year filled up with tens of projects, meetings, trainings and other activities. Through these SOMO works on its three main objectives which all revolve around the idea of regaining democratic power over multinationals. This was also the key theme of the event that marked SOMOs 40th anniversary in December 2013.
Within these past 40 years of ‘knowledge-driven change’, SOMO is clearly aware of the fact that ‘its’ achievements are only possible through close cooperation with hundreds of partners and allies in networks and coalitions, both in the global south and in the north. Within SOMO’s daily work, there were some notable highlights in 2013 that illustrate our main objectives and partnerships.
For example, the fact that nearly one hundred civil society representatives in three countries learned about non-judicial grievance mechanisms and how they can be effectively used to seek remedy for corporate misconduct. Or the fact that Unilever took real action to stop sexual harassment on its Kericho tea plantation in Kenya, resulting in announced improvements in the plantation’s grievance mechanism, disciplinary action and an increase in the number of women team leaders.
Also, the Dutch government finally admitted that its tax policies and treaties, which facilitate tax avoidance by multinational companies, deprive poor countries of the revenue necessary to provide citizens with essential services such as education. The government committed itself to improving tax transparency and adding anti-abuse provisions in 23 tax treaties. These and other highlights are described in SOMO’s 2013 Annual Report.