Across the world, communities, workers, activists, NGOs, and trade unions confront the negative impacts of business activities and corporate behaviour on a daily basis. But when they seek justice and accountability, they often encounter the harmful strategies that companies use to deny or avoid responsibility.
In working to overcome these harmful corporate strategies, activists, NGOs, and other civil society actors have learned much about how to counter them – what works and what does not. The Mind the Gap project seeks to bring this combined learning together. The project shares information, tools, and resources based on years of experience and hard-won expertise that civil society has achieved around the world.
To combat companies’ harmful strategies, Mind the Gap has identified 11 counter-strategies, which we group into four main categories:
- Dismantling corporate narratives
- Shifting the power balance
- Deploying legal counter-strategies
- Advancing corporate accountability norms
These counter-strategies respond to the harmful strategies companies use to deny affected people justice for damage to their human rights and/or the environment by, or with the involvement of, the company.
There is no clear, one-to-one relationship between a harmful corporate strategy and a civil society counter-strategy. However, some counter-strategies may be particularly useful to combat specific harmful corporate strategies or to respond to several corporate strategies at the same time. And just as companies often use several harmful strategies in combination to evade accountability, people and organisations seeking justice will often need to employ multiple counter-strategies, sometimes using several in parallel, or in sequence, together with broader advocacy or legal strategies.
You can use the counter-strategies in this toolkit both to react to corporate harms that have already occurred and to prevent such harms from happening. For example, you can use the counter-strategies to expose the risks of a planned corporate investment and to either prevent the investment or secure necessary safeguards.
This counter-strategies toolkit is designed for use by civil society activists and organisations working with people affected by corporate harms. The toolkit assumes that you will work closely with such affected people in choosing which counter-strategies to use and how and when to deploy them.