Reining in corporations

Reining in corporations


Why do corporations have so much power?

Of the 100 largest economic entities in the world, 69 are corporations and only 31 are countries*. The power of multinational corporations is rapidly expanding. Revolving doors and vast lobbying resources enable corporations to wield significant influence over governments and international institutions to help to advance their own interests.

While corporations operate across borders, laws are still primarily nationally based. To date, there is almost no legally binding international regulation of corporations. Nearly all attempts to hold corporations to account at an international level have been voluntary and therefore unenforceable.

What is the problem with corporate power?

In their pursuit of huge profits, big business too often gets away with exploiting people, disregarding human rights and destroying the environment. The effects can be devastating for communities around the world who are displaced to make space for new industrial projects or exploited in brutal working conditions.

But corporate power affects everyone.  From the food we eat to the medicine we need to stay healthy, corporations have taken control of large parts of our life. And in a world where profit is king, our health and other needs take second place.

How can we challenge big business?

Monsanto on trialCalling time on corporate crimes

The UN is negotiating a treaty to hold corporations accountable for their human rights abuses. Learn more about the treaty and how you can support it

Read the briefing


* These figures have been taken from a direct comparison of the annual revenue of corporations and the annual revenue of countries. Sources: CIA World Factbook 2015 and Fortune Global 500.

Illustration by Jacob V Joyce