Impact report 2023

Impact report 2023

A message from our Chair

Nicola Ansell, Chair 

2023 posed big challenges for those of us dedicated to global justice. From  the alarming surge in global temperatures, to political backsliding on net zero and the relentless rise of corporate power, it was a year that tested our resolve.

But I believe in our movement. Even with challenges, we have the strength and determination to make things better. And it’s a big testament to the commitment of Global Justice Now supporters, activists and staff that there is so much impact and so many successes to cover in this report.

Together we forced the UK government to leave the climate-wrecking Energy Charter Treaty, launched an ambitious new campaign for a global plan to phase out fossil fuels, took on corporate power at every turn and achieved so much. I want to extend a massive thank you to each and every one of you for your incredible efforts.

Meaningful and sustainable change takes time, and requires collective action. That’s why Global Justice Now exists – to challenge the narratives shaping our economy, rally communities nationwide, and create pivotal moments in the political arena.

Hope in itself is a powerful act of rebellion. Together, we’re rewriting the story of our future.

Nicola Ansell
Chair, Global Justice Now 

Climate campaign

Our climate campaigner Izzie talks about the key developments in our climate campaign throughout 2023.

The climate emergency: hope and action in a challenging year

Izzie McIntosh, climate campaigner

In 2023, the world’s reliance on oil, coal and gas continued to wreak havoc. Global temperatures reached alarming heights and wildfires raged, disproportionately affecting those least responsible for the climate crisis. Cyclone Freddy devastated communities in Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique in February, while storms and flooding ravaged Libya, China and Western Europe at different times. Over half of those killed by climate disasters in 2023 were from lower or middle income countries. Meanwhile, UK prime minister Rishi Sunak began to roll back on net zero plans and expanded North Sea oil and gas. And for oil giants like Shell, 2023 was one of the most profitable years on record.

Despite the lack of decisive action from our politicians, the unwavering and generous support of Global Justice Now supporters ensured that the connection between fossil fuels, the climate crisis and global inequality was made loud and clear.

Calling for big polluters to pay for their climate damage

We have been one of the leading voices in the UK calling for big polluters to pay climate compensation to global south countries for the impacts of climate catastrophes. In 2022 we published our research showing that the ‘Big 5’ oil companies owe the global south over $8 trillion for climate damage – the same five companies which reported over $170 billion in profits that year. As a result of consistent campaigning, including by global allies over many years, at the end of 2022 the United Nations climate change conference (COP27) finally agreed to set up a loss and damage fund, a significant step towards addressing this issue. In 2023 we focused on pressuring the UK government to force big polluters to pay into it, with our calls for a permanent polluters tax covered in the Daily Express, Evening Standard, Guardian, Independent and the Sun, among others.

We played a crucial role in coordinating and participating in a nationwide Make Polluters Pay action day, as well as running workshops and other events from our base at ‘The Big One’, one of the largest climate protests the UK has seen. From campaign teach-ins to impactful stunts, local activist groups across the country highlighted the urgent need for polluters to be held accountable, amplifying our collective voice and pushing for meaningful change. This grassroots movement gained momentum throughout the year, with our demands prominently featured in media outlets like the Guardian and Time Magazine, and across local and regional media.

Photo: David Levene

Later in the year we stood in solidarity with people in Africa living on the frontline of fossil fuel extraction. On the day of Shell’s AGM in London, activists gave powerful testimonies of the human cost of Shell’s operations across the continent and demanded compensation payments from this polluting company, which helped to create the climate crisis and profits from it so much.

At the end of the year at COP28, the structure of the UN loss and damage fund was agreed. We provided analysis and pushed our campaign messaging out from the conference, with coverage including BBC, Channel 5, LBC, the Independent and Times Radio. Rich countries began to pledge their contributions, with the UK agreeing to pay an initial £60 million into the fund. Although minimal, our movement was instrumental in securing this first step. We have consistently highlighted the UK’s historical responsibility for climate change and demanded that the government steps up and pays its fair share of the costs of climate damage in the global south. It’s going to take a lot more than £60 million to see justice done, but the creation of the loss and damage fund is still a historic moment that should inspire us to keep pushing for climate justice in 2024.

Photo: Dorothy Guerrero/Global Justice Now


Backing activists in Ecuador

Yasuní National Park in the Amazon, home to Indigenous peoples and one of the planet’s most biodiverse areas, has faced the threat of oil drilling over many years. Last summer, as Ecuadorians prepared to cast their votes in a pivotal referendum to approve further oil drilling in Yasuní, or ban it forever, our supporters rallied behind Ecuadorian activists, generously contributing to our crowdfunding campaign. Together, we backed Ecuadorian activists who fought to secure a referendum vote banning all new oil drilling in Yasuní. The success of this referendum stands as a monumental victory for the brave frontline communities involved and struck a significant blow against the relentless pressure exerted by big oil globally.

A global fossil fuel exit plan

Thanks to the backing of our supporters and members, in the summer we were able to launch the next phase of our climate work, beginning in Scotland. Despite being lauded for its climate leadership, and in particular for being the first of the rich nations to pledge reparations to global south countries for climate-induced loss and damage, the Scottish government has stopped short of addressing the root cause of the climate crisis: fossil fuels.

We were the first organisation in Scotland to challenge this by calling on them to endorse the proposal for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. We successfully began to build political support at Holyrood, wrote for The National on why Scotland should back the treaty, and then in November we launched the next phase of the campaign, right across the UK: a call on all party leaders to support this global treaty to end fossil fuels.

Developed by some of the nations disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, this groundbreaking treaty will bind governments to stop expanding fossil fuels, agree a plan to phase them out, and transition fairly to clean energy. While existing international efforts have fallen short in tackling the root causes of the climate emergency, this treaty aims to provide a viable roadmap towards an end to the era of coal, oil and gas, offering a critical solution to curb climate chaos. The campaign received a big boost at COP28 when Colombia became the first oil-producing country to back the treaty.

Photo: Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative

What’s next?

Global political support for a fossil fuel phase-out reflects progress forced by activists around the world. In 2024 we’ll be pressuring the UK’s leaders to join this conversation and do the right thing at every possible opportunity.

Demand a global exit plan from fossil fuels

Add your name to demand action from UK party leaders: endorse the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and include it in your election manifestos. Let’s stop the expansion of fossil fuels and pave the way for a sustainable future.

Add your name

Trade campaign

Our trade campaigner Cleodie summarises wins and next steps towards a just global trade system.

Building momentum for a more just global trade system

Cleodie Rickard, trade campaigner

On 22 February 2024 we had a significant campaign victory as the UK government announced its withdrawal from the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). It was the culmination of our sustained  three-year campaign, fuelled by previous years of highlighting the dangers of ‘corporate courts’, the trade deal mechanisms which allow big corporations to sue countries if they introduce policies that threaten their profits. Such triumphs don’t materialise overnight, especially in our fight against corporate dominance in the global economy. However, this win serves as a powerful reminder that change is not only possible – it’s within reach!

Last year we focused most of our efforts on pushing the UK to leave the ECT. But we also campaigned for corporate courts to be dropped in other international trade deals and ultimately to end the corporate courts system altogether. We firmly believe that trade should work for people and the planet, not just for profit. If trade rules clash with climate goals or increase inequality, then those rules need to be rewritten – and we’ll continue our campaigning until this happens.

Securing a UK exit from the climate-wrecking Energy Charter Treaty 

Our success in defeating the Energy Charter Treaty stemmed from several key strategies since the beginning of the campaign in 2021. Firstly, we brought the issue to public attention by shedding light on the treaty’s implications through workshops, media coverage, and educational materials. Secondly, we fostered alliances and coalitions, both domestically and internationally, amplifying our advocacy efforts and building a unified front against the treaty.

In 2023, we focused on targeted lobbying of key MPs, and by June more than 60 opposition MPs had backed withdrawal from the ECT. Then in July, after pressure from us and our local activists in Scotland, the SNP publicly called on the UK government to exit the treaty, later passing a motion condemning the ECT at their conference. In September, we wrote an op-ed in the Guardian on why the UK must leave the ECT. Later that month, as MPs pushed an amendment in parliament calling for an immediate exit, the government announced a review of the UK’s membership, but only if modernisation proposals were not agreed by the end of November. Undeterred, we persisted and delivered a joint petition of 120,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street.

In February 2024, the UK government finally announced the decision to leave the ECT. As a result of campaigns throughout Europe including our own, the ECT now looks like it’s a dead man walking, which would mean we’ve defeated one of the biggest corporate court treaties in the world.

Demanding the UK drops corporate courts in the Pacific trade deal

In March 2023, the UK government made a troubling decision to sign up to the Pacific trade deal (CPTPP). This move spells trouble for our planet, our food standards, our democratic values, and our fight against global inequality. Just like the Energy Charter Treaty, the Pacific trade deal currently includes corporate court mechanisms. By joining, the UK is essentially handing even more power to fossil fuel giants and other big corporations.

In October, we coordinated a joint letter with Canadian and UK NGOs and trade unions, calling on the UK and Canada to sign a side-letter excluding corporate courts in the Pacific trade deal. As the deal went through parliament, we rallied MPs to support the side-letter demand. Through this, we’ve built strong opposition on the Labour front bench to corporate courts. In Scotland, our work with Green MSPs meant that the threats from the Pacific trade deal were raised at Holyrood.

More broadly, we supported partners in the global south at the sharp end of the corporate courts regime, such as attending a delegation in May to support Colombian movements’ call for their government to review their treaties containing the mechanism – which ended in its promise to do so.

Defending access to medicines 

Last year, a leaked document uncovered a troubling revelation: the UK has been pushing for restrictive intellectual property laws in trade talks with India. These demands threaten to drive up medicine prices in the global south, as well as for the NHS, which gets 25% of its generic medicines from Indian suppliers.

In response, we rallied our supporters to urge trade secretary Kemi Badenoch to reconsider these damaging measures ahead of the G20 summit in India in September. As part of the People’s Vaccine Alliance, we organised a powerful letter signed by over 100 global south health and development organisations highlighting the grave implications of the UK’s demands on global access to essential medicines, which the government was forced to respond to. Despite reports of political pressure to conclude a UK-India deal by the end of 2023, negotiations have hit a roadblock. So medicine protections remain in place, for now.

Our efforts to promote greater democratic scrutiny of trade deals didn’t go unnoticed – media outlets like Bloomberg and iNews shed light on our ongoing legal battle with the UK government over trade transparency, which has already revealed shocking details of government spending to block public access to agendas and minutes of its trade talks.

What’s next?

The UK’s departure from the Energy Charter Treaty is a big shift, which could help unravel  the entire treaty and deliver a significant blow to the entrenched system of corporate courts. Building on this momentum, we’re pushing to dismantle corporate courts from all trade agreements, ensuring that justice and sustainability take precedence over corporate greed. As the corporate court regime loses legitimacy, we’re setting our sights on other trade rules which are being weaponised under the guise of tackling the climate crisis. We’re supporting countries and communities which are pushing back against rich countries using trade agreements to seek unfettered access to the critical minerals needed for renewable technology. We are working to ensure that the harms of fossil fuel extraction aren’t deepened, as part of securing a globally just transition away from fossil fuels.

Listen to our podcast

The Secret World of Investor Courts is a podcast made by the Global Justice Now Youth Network, exploring corporate power, colonialism and climate justice.

Listen now

Corporate power

Our pharma campaigner Tim explains how we’ve been challenging corporate power and what we acheived in 2023.

Taking on the giants

Tim Bierley, pharma campaigner

Challenging corporate power has always been central to our work at Global Justice Now. And it certainly was during 2023. Corporations have simply grown so colossal, so omnipotent, that they’re practically untouchable. Too big to fail, too big to trust, and apparently, too big to care. Their unchecked power perpetuates global inequality, undermines democracy, and exacerbates the climate crisis.

Last year, we continued to take every opportunity to bring them to heel, and push for the international economy to work for the majority instead.

Standing up to monopoly capitalism

Coinciding with our conference in March, we published a report, Monopoly capitalism – What is it and how do we fight it? exploring how corporate monopolies are shifting wealth from the 99% to the 1%, and from poorer to rich nations, driving huge inequality. What’s more, it is shifting power – undermining our democracy and making it harder to achieve the sorts of policies we desperately need to deal with, for instance, climate change.

At our Resisting Monopoly Capitalism conference we brought together international activists, supporters, and experts. Here, we delved deep into the stranglehold exerted by corporate behemoths over vital sectors like pharmaceuticals, food, energy, and technology. The conference was not only focused on analysing the current state of corporate power, but also on ways to resist it, feeding into our work on Amazon later in the year and helping to build the broader movement working on challenging corporate concentration around the world.

Photo: Andrea Domeniconi


Make Amazon Pay

Amazon and other tech giants are wielding their influence to shape the global economy, aiming to amass data and expand into numerous markets. They’re actively lobbying to sway trade agreements in their favour, seeking to cement deregulation before governments enact legislation to rein them in.

In response, we joined the Make Amazon Pay coalition on Black Friday in November, participating in nationwide protests at Amazon’s offices across the UK, and distributing a spoof Amazon newsletter. Our goal was to shed light on the company’s relentless expansion, characterised by worker exploitation, excessive waste and emissions, and unfair pricing practices that stifle competition for other sellers on its platform. Coverage of the protests included ITV, the Independent and the National.

In a victory for workers, April 2024 saw the European parliament take a bold stand: Amazon’s lobbyists were shown the door after the company refused to participate in a crucial hearing on its workplace practices.

Book launch: Pharmanomics: How Big Pharma Destroys Global Health

Extreme corporate power is particularly problematic when big corporations are allowed to control access to basic needs. After the disaster of pandemic inequality and big pharma’s profiteering even during a time of global health crisis, battles have been raging around the world for who controls medicines. Big pharma is trying to keep its monopoly power, but campaigners, scientists and global south leaders are fighting back to build something better. We continued to be part of that fight.

In October, Verso published Pharmanomics: How Big Pharma Destroys Global Health, by our director Nick Dearden. With the help of our activist groups and in collaboration with local bookshops, Nick travelled up and down the country holding book talks, giving an eye-opening account of how giant pharmaceutical companies have produced a global system of medical apartheid and sharing inspiring lessons from the frontline in the fight for access to medicines. The book received rave reviews and Nick was interviewed in a range of progressive media outlets about it. He also appeared on Channel 4’s Dispatches on the industry.

Photo: Oriana Lauria/Global Justice Now


Highlighting big pharma’s raid on the NHS 

In light of the NHS’s 75th anniversary in July we published an investigation, covered exclusively in iNews, showing that big pharma companies have extracted £12 billion in excess profits from the NHS through sales on just 10 drugs in the last decade. Each of these drugs had received support from the public or charities for research and development.

We built a coalition against big pharma’s demands to replace the NHS pricing scheme VPAS with a deal that would cost the NHS an extra £2.5 billion a year, holding a protest outside the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry’s annual meeting. While the industry didn’t get what they were demanding, a new deal was put in place at the end of the year doubling the cap on sales growth of branded drugs.

What’s next?

Big Pharma’s greed is rampant, and rich nations, spearheaded by the UK, are dragging their feet in curbing it. With a global pandemic treaty deadline looming in May, the fight for fair access to life-saving medicines is continuing. The global south is demanding technology transfer and patent guarantees to avoid another Covid-19 vaccine debacle. But despite research and development often being publicly funded, pharmaceutical giants are still blocking access. Together with partners, we’re lobbying the UK government to get behind a deal that puts global health before the interests of the pharmaceutical industry.

Read our newest joint research on monopoly capitalism

Taken, not earned: How monopolists drive the world’s power and wealth divide explores how top companies use monopoly power to effectively rip off consumers, while exploiting workers and citizens, and suffocating smaller businesses.

Read the full report

Movement building

Our activist network is growing. Here’s how we facilitated learning and action in 2023.

Empowering grassroots activists

James O’Nions, head of activism

Local activism is the heartbeat of our campaigns, driving real change and challenging systemic injustices. Whether it was gathering signatures on the street for our petition against the Energy Charter Treaty, or lobbying MPs to make polluters pay, our local groups continued to keep global justice on the agenda in 2023.

It was also a busy year for Global Justice Youth, our network of activists and groups for people under 30. It started with We Rise in Manchester, where over 100 attendees discussed climate justice, corporate power and neocolonialism, along with skills and creative workshops. Then in July, thanks to a sympathetic co-housing community, we had the opportunity to put on a weekend-long summer gathering in the Sussex countryside. This enabled more in-depth discussions about strategies for building a fairer world as well as some important community building. Youth network activists also ran workshops as part of our presence at the Big One.

Photo: Joseph Sheridan/@js__visuals 

Get involved

Global Justice Now is made up of a network of activists and local groups – people like you who take action in their communities to challenge corporate power and the policies that cause poverty and inequality all over the world.

Join our activist network

Funding our mission

Despite the inevitable impact of the cost of living crisis on our income, the continued generosity of our members and supporters allows us to maintain our independence and continue our campaigning work.

In 2023, we navigated a challenging fundraising landscape as the harsh realities of the cost of living crisis and mounting bills continued to affect us all. And as a result, we raised less money than we had hoped.

Despite the challenges, the generous contributions and dedication to justice from our supporters, members and trusts have propelled us forward, driving meaningful change every step of the way. We understand that a lot of our supporters aren’t in a position to back our campaigns in this way, and we are very grateful to everyone who has continued to do so during a cost of living crisis.

Also a huge thank you to everyone who helped our work in other ways – from signing petitions to sharing our social media outputs and using our campaign resources. However you supported Global Justice Now in 2023, we really can’t thank you enough.

Where our money came from

Income £1,335,834

Regular donations from individuals 43%
Other donations from individuals 14%
Legacies 7%
Faith-based organisations 2%
Grants (unrestricted) 3%
Grants (restricted) 30%
Other income 1%

NB. These are pre-audited figures

How we spent our income 

Expenditure £1,690,234

Campaigns 71%
Fundraising 27%
Governance 2%

NB. These are pre-audited figures

Trusts, foundations and faith groups

We extend our gratitude to the like-minded trusts, foundations, and faith groups whose collaboration and generous contributions in 2023 have strengthened our campaigns. Your support has been invaluable.

Anber Fund Oakdale Trust
Earth Island Institute Open Society Foundations
Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative People’s Vaccine Alliance
Gower Street Polden Puckham
Isvara Foundation Pretty Flamingo Charitable Trust
J A Trust Saxham Trust
Jusaca Charitable Trust Tisbury Telegraph Trust
Leri Charitable Trust United Reformed Church
Mr and Mrs FEF Newman Charitable Trust Waterloo Foundation


Gifts in Wills

Support from individuals who choose to leave a gift to Global Justice Now in their Will makes an enormous difference to our ability to campaign, particularly for an organisation of our size. We extend our deepest appreciation to the 23 supporters for the legacies they left to our work in 2023.

What’s next?

There are many ways to support our campaigns. Choose the one that suits you best.

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