Hold them Accountable!
Rimbunan Hijau subsidiary Saban's logging site in Sebutuia, Milne Bay. © Paul Hilton / Greenpeace.
In our partnership with communities in their struggle for land, human rights, and protection of the environment we hold governments, international financial “development” institutions, and corporations accountable. Our courage comes in part from our financial independence — individual donors like you power our work. This year, we took on a range of powerful actors — from one of the world’s largest logging companies to philanthropic institutions like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
This Year We Secured Wins in Hard Fought, Years-Long Struggles
But Our Work Is Far From Finished
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Triumph over Tax Dodging Logging Corporations in PNG
Years of rigorous research and advocacy in Papua New Guinea has constrained powerful interests responsible for environmental devastation and deforestation. This year PNG’s Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) cracked down on logging companies with an audit of 20 firms, which could lead to criminal prosecutions. The announcement followed two reports from the Oakland Institute — The Great Timber Heist and The Great Timber Heist Continued — that revealed massive tax evasion by logging companies plundering the third largest rainforest in the world.
Rimbunan Hijau, the largest logging company in PNG exposed by the Institute, announced it has been forced to cease logging activities in the country. This major victory sends a clear message — any corporation — no matter how large or powerful — can be held accountable.
Unmasking Investors Profiteering from Human Rights Abuses in DRC
In King Leopold’s Steps unmasked the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; pension funds; university endowments, including the University of Michigan, profiteering from the conflict plagued PHC oil palm plantations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Local communities are in a century-long struggle for the return of their land undeterred by the violence and repression they face. Our advocacy is holding these investors responsible for human rights violations. While victory will not be easy — we remain tenacious in our work to help secure the return of ancestral land to the local communities.
United Nations End Business Relationship with the Bolloré Group
The United Nations pays France-based Bolloré Group over US$50 million every year for logistics and other services. But the group is also involved in rubber and oil palm plantations through its subsidiary SOCFIN, which controls close to 400,000 hectares of concessions in Asia and Africa and has been accused of land grabbing and widespread human rights violations. After losing their lands to the company, local communities have been subjected to violence, intimidation, and severe distress. Furthermore, the Bolloré Group has been accused of corruption and illegal practices in a number of deals, which helped it secure port concessions in Africa. Our campaign is calling on the UN to halt its contracts with the group — Doing business with Bolloré is a violation of UN rules and values! Please join the campaign by signing here.
At the Oakland Institute our unwavering commitment to the communities and independence comes from the fact that we do not accept funding from governments or corporations. If you believe in the power of independent research and advocacy, please consider making a one-time or monthly contribution to power our work into 2022.
With deepest gratitude and appreciation,