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Frequently Asked Questions

The Counter

Download the FAQ in French and Spanish

What is The Counter?

The Counter is a global help desk providing corporate research and information to activists working to hold companies accountable for societal and environmental harms. SOMO has supported social justice groups and communities fighting corporate power for decades. The Counter’s dedicated company investigators are here to help those most in need.

Where does The Counter get the company information?

The Counter’s team uses publicly available and open source data, company filings and data from business registries worldwide. We also gather information from various subscription corporate databases used by SOMO for company investigations.

Who is eligible to request corporate research from The Counter?

Activists, public interest journalists, NGOs, trade union representatives, strategic litigators, and communities who are working to protect human rights, prevent environmental and climate collapse, reclaim public spaces from corporations, and expose destructive business practices causing social and environmental harms are eligible to make requests to The Counter, provided they are linked to the harm caused by the company in question, and do not have the means to otherwise pay for such corporate research support. All research support is subject to our capacity.

The Counter reserves priority for research requests arising from communities directly affected by social and environmental harms. As such, research assistance is available to public interest journalists, academics and policy-oriented organizations on a limited and discretionary basis.

Who is not eligible to request corporate research from The Counter?

Companies and commercial enterprises, investors or individuals with financial interests in the requested research, governments, donors (unless the donor is facilitating a request originating from a harmed community), and individuals who are not linked to the harm caused by the company. Activists who have the means to pay for these services are also not eligible. Additionally, The Counter only works on research requests that align with SOMO’s mission and vision.

Can I see a preview of the submission form?

You can download a preview of the list of questions to get an impression of the information we require from you. Download the preview in EnglishSpanish and French

How can I submit my request?

You can submit your request via an online form by following the steps below:

Can I submit a request on my mobile phone or tablet?

Yes, tickets may be submitted through our online help desk tool Zammad using your mobile phone or tablet.

When will I hear back from The Counter?

Once you submit the online form, you will get an automatic response confirming your request is in our queue. The Counter team assesses new requests weekly, so you should hear back from us within two weeks. In our response to your request we may already provide you with the research; ask you follow-up questions; or inform you that we are not able to answer your questions or assist you. Our provision of research support is subject to our eligibility guidelines and capacity.

You will receive all communications from us in relation to your research request by email as well as through Zammad. It is important that you reply directly in Zammad, or in the same email thread where you hear from us, without changing the subject line, to be sure that we receive your message. If your request involves sharing sensitive information please note this in your submission and provide your preferred mode of communication. The Counter team can move to other communication channels after you have submitted your request.

What sort of company information does The Counter provide?

The Counter aims to provide information on company finances, ownership, investors, corporate and capital structures, subsidiaries, supply chains, governance and operations if this information is accessible and available. The Counter team will provide the information and data found, the sources used in the search, a summary of the findings, and, if requested, possible suggestions for further action. If we cannot find or access this information, we cannot provide it.

What sort of information does The Counter not provide?

The Counter will NOT provide support for research requests with the following subject matter or intended usage:

What if I don’t know exactly what type of research assistance I need?

If you would like research assistance for information related to harmful companies but you are unsure about the kind of research you would best benefit from, please reach out to us in Zammad and explain your situation as best as possible. If we find that your request meets our eligibility guidelines we will work with you to develop a research plan that meets your needs.

What happens if The Counter cannot help me?

We will tell you if The Counter’s team cannot find the documentation or data you requested, or if you are not eligible for assistance from The Counter based on the subject matter of your request, its intended use, your professional affiliations, or any other reason. If your request for help is outside of our area of expertise, we will try to refer you to another organization or expert in our network.

How can SOMO provide free corporate research to support social justice movements worldwide?

SOMO received grants to launch The Counter from funders including the Dutch National Postcode Lottery and True Costs Initiative. These generous grants have enabled SOMO to expand our team of dedicated company investigators to offer corporate research support to those most in need.

Who should I contact if I have technical issues when trying to submit a research request?

If you encounter technical issues while submitting a request, please send an email to, and indicate you have a technical issue submitting a request to The Counter. We will contact you to help resolve the issue.

How does The Counter ensure the confidentiality of my request?

The information you share with us will only be accessed by SOMO employees unless you agree that we share it with other experts. We use our own Nextcloud server to store our data, and Zammad for communication, both are only accessible by SOMO.

Ready to submit your request?

Have you reviewed the eligibility guidelines and the FAQs? Create an account to submit your request, or log in with an existing account and follow the instructions.

The Counter team will assess your request and get back to you within two weeks to let you know if we can help. All research support is subject to our guidelines and capacity.

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