What are the True Costs?

When corporations are not held accountable for their business actions in the Global South this results in tangible and devastating effects for humans and the environment. These true costs include:

  • Environmental degradation
  • Displaced people
  • Negative health and social impacts on local and indigenous communities
  • Underinvestment in social services due to misallocation of national wealth
  • Violation of indigenous rights and land tenure rights
  • Absence of legal remedies for harms suffered and the infringement of rights
  • Kleptocracy and other forms of corruption which undermine strong legal systems
  • Inequitable distribution of natural resources
  • Weakened civil society because of overwhelming corporate power and undue influence
  • Corporate-related human rights and environmental abuses

True Costs Initiative will highlight these true costs and recommend support to projects, leaders and coalitions that help rebalance the scale in favor of the environment and local communities.

Why does it matter?

  • The ease with which corporations externalize the costs of their business operations means that the world’s most vulnerable people and the environments in which they live are inequitably burdened while corporations reap tremendous profit. This is unsustainable not only in the Global South but everywhere.
  • Corporations’ outsized financial influence results in a tremendous imbalance of power. Remedying this imbalance means amplifying the voice and increasing the power of vulnerable populations.
  • International governmental organizations, governments and financiers publicly and discretely support and/ or finance large-scale corporate megaprojects in the Global South. Such entities should be held to rigorous corporate accountability standards to ensure that they deliver on the promises made to communities and that they do not engage in practices which undermine the social and environmental fabric of these communities.
  • Local communities in the Global South have an important stake in strong legal systems because understanding the law allows people to utilize laws to protect their basic rights. Without being undergirded by strong legal systems, any efforts at corporate accountability will be limited and compromised.