Solar power plantPhoto: Alex Lang

The global energy system is unsustainable and revolves around the interests of large corporations and their financiers. Power companies are responsible for widespread air and water pollution, and their heavy reliance on fossil fuels makes them one of the world’s leading contributors to disastrous climate change.

Meanwhile, a third of the world’s population lacks access to energy sources to meet their basic needs, despite the fact that access to energy, particularly electricity, is vital for eradicating poverty and improving quality of life.

SOMO draws the links between the economic and environmental struggles of consumers and workers in low-income countries, the behaviour of multinational power companies and their financiers, and the international and regional agreements that undergird the energy system.

Our aim is a transition to a sustainable and democratic system of energy provision and natural resource management that is people-centred and has the lowest possible environmental impact.

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the bigger picture

Natural Resources

Many of the world’s poorest countries are rich in natural resources. In the absence of democratic control, these resources are being recklessly exploited, destroying local communities and ecosystems, threatening the health of the planet and contributing to the widening gap between rich and poor.

Research and awareness-raising

SOMO investigates companies and their investors in the agribusiness, energy and extractives sectors with a close eye on the complex web that link these sectors to each other and to numerous social and environmental problems, including human rights violations and armed conflict.

In collaboration with partners, we investigate the activities and policies of corporations and financiers involved in large-scale land grabs and destructive agribusiness, extractives, energy and infrastructure projects. We pay particular attention to the conduct of multinational corporations in conflict-affected areas, raising awareness on their role and responsibilities and pushing them to act responsibly and in a conflict-sensitive way.

Democratic control over natural resources

SOMO advocates transparent and democratic control over natural resources which contributes to more sustainable and people-centred resource use. SOMO supports local communities in claiming and defending human rights, including the right to make decisions about projects affecting their land, known as Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
Our research builds the case for a transition towards more democratic systems of energy provision based on sustainable use of natural resources.

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