Since 1996, San Francisco Bay Area-based CorpWatch has been educating and mobilizing people through the CorpWatch.org website, articles and publications, and numerous action-campaigns. Our organization is a project of the Social Good Fund * and we are guided by our Advisory Board.
Throughout its history CorpWatch has provided journalists, activists, policy makers, students and teachers with key informational resources on issues related to corporate accountability.
The foundation from which the organization emerged and evolved was the book, The Corporate Planet: Ecology and Politics in the Age of Globalization, written by CorpWatch's founder Joshua Karliner, and published by Sierra Club Books in 1997. The scope of our investigations reflects our commitment to pursuing issues of corporate accountability and malfeasance in any manifestation, anywhere in the world -- whether the rights in question are economic, environmental, human, political or social rights.
Here is a list of some of our notable accomplishments in the last two decades.
Environment, Economy and Human Rights
- Corpwatch launched its first major shot across the corporate bow in 1997 when it blew the whistle on working conditions in Nike’s operations in Vietnam, ultimately helping secure greater oversight of their factories and changes in their corporate practices.
- In 1998, CorpWatch began investigating the Enron Corporation, three years before the company’s collapse.
- Our Climate Justice Initiative, organized from 1999-2002 around the CorpWatch report, Greenhouse Gangsters vs. Climate Justice, successfully redefined climate change as an environmental justice and human rights issue, and helped mobilize communities already adversely impacted by the fossil fuel industry.
- In 1999, we broke the story of the United Nations growing entanglement with corporations, known as the UN Global Compact, with a report titled Tangled Up in Blue.
- We published Earth Summit.biz: The Corporate Takeover of Sustainable Development, in collaboration with Food First Books in 2002.
- We also co-produced five live one-hour radio broadcasts from the WTO Ministerial meeting and protests in Seattle in 1999 and from Cancun in 2003.
- In May 2007 we exposed the human and environmental cost of gold mining with the publication of Barrick's Dirty Secrets: Communities Respond to Gold Mining's Impacts Worldwide.
- In September 2007 we launched the Wiki project Crocodyl.org, in partnership with the Center for Corporate Policy and the Corporate Research Project.
- In May 2009 we contributed to The True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report, led by author Antonia Juhasz. This jointly-produced report documents negative impacts of Chevron's operations around the globe, in stark contrast to the message sent by the company's ubiquitous "Human Energy" advertising campaign.
- The EuroZone Profiteers - a 2013 CorpWatch report exposed how reckless lending by Belgian, French and German banks helped precipitate the EuroZone crisis by profiting out of Greece, Ireland and Spain.
War Profiteering: Afghanistan, Iraq and the Drone War
In the spring of 2002 and 2003, CorpWatch began to track companies like Bechtel, Dyncorp and Halliburton, profiting out of the so-called "war on terrorism." This has led to our fielding several investigative journalistic teams to investigate the out-sourced reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- In May 2004, CorpWatch began a series of alternative annual reports on Halliburton, along with Global Exchange, HallibutonWatch and others. The first was titled Houston, We Have a Problem. The 2005 alternative annual report was titled, Houston, We Still Have A Problem, and one in 2006, Hurricane Halliburton: Conflict, Climate Change and Catastrophe. We published the fourth and final in the series in spring 2007, as Halliburton off-shored its headquarters Dubai in the United Arab Emerites, called Goodbye, Houston.
- In November 2004, Seven Stories Press released Iraq, Inc., A Profitable Occupation - the first book-length on-the-ground account of Year One of the occupation of Iraq, written by executive director Pratap Chatterjee.
- In May 2006, CorpWatch published Afghanistan, Inc., authored by Afghan-American writer Fariba Nawa, which details the bungled reconstruction effort in Afghanistan.
- CorpWatch provided extensive research support to the production of several War on Terror related films like Fahrenheit 911, Iraq for Sale, and Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars.
- We testified in the U.S. Congress before the Commission on Wartime Contracting as well as the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2011.
- In 2008, we released a report on the impact of U.S. intelligence and translation contracting, Outsourcing Intelligence in Iraq: A CorpWatch Report on L-3/Titan in collaboration with Amnesty International.
- In February 2009, Nation Books released Halliburton's Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War, written by executive director Pratap Chatterjee.
- In 2017, CorpWatch published Drone Inc.: Marketing the Illusion of Precision Killing, a ground-breaking report on the contractors and technologies used in the remote control drone war.
- Also in 2017, Macmillan published Verax: The True History of Whistleblowers, Drone Warfare, and Mass Surveillance, a graphic novel by Pratap Chatterjee and Khalil Bendib.
- In August 2006, CorpWatch published Big, Easy Money: Disaster Profiteering on the American Gulf Coast by Rita J. King, published in August 2006, on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's devastation.
- A year later, we followed this up with Casualties of Katrina: Gulf Coast Reconstruction Two Years after the Hurricane in September 2007, written by Eliza Strickland and Azibuike Akaba.
- As part of the Corporate Accountability Coalition, together with the Center for Corporate Policy, Corporate Accountability International, Earth Rights International, and the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, CorpWatch has published five annual reports measuring the commitment of members of the U.S. Congress to keep the power of large corporations in check, to promote transparency and responsible business practices, and to hold corporations accountable for their actions. The first report was published in 2013, the second in 2014, the third in 2015, the fourth in 2016. The final report was issued in 2017.
- In 2015, CorpWatch published Subsidizing Contractor Misconduct, a report on how the federal government has been subsidizing contractor misconduct with our tax dollars, written by Chris Thompson.
* Between 1996 and 2018, CorpWatch was a project of the Tides Center.