A wide pool of civil society partners from all continents contributed examples and expertise to build the evidence base for the framework identified. The evidence featured on the website consists of case studies of actions employed by corporations that result in avoidance of responsibility based on multiple sources.
Recent and ongoing cases
The case studies evidence strategies that represent current corporate practice. All cases presented on this website describe conflicts between corporate interests and societal interests, including human rights and environmental impacts, that have occurred in the last ten years. Exceptions are made for ongoing conflicts that have started before 2009. An ongoing conflict is defined as a situation in which a multinational company and those adversely impacted by its activities or their representatives have been in active disagreement over a period of multiple years, with those impacted seeking to stop the impacts, hold the company accountable and/or obtain compensation for the harm suffered. Case studies presented each highlight a particular harmful strategy observed at the time of writing and are not subject to continuous updates.
Patterns of behaviour
The case studies featured in our evidence base all demonstrate a series of actions taken by a company or a pattern of behaviour. This was a key criterion for cases to be considered as evidence for the framework of harmful strategies, since once actions are repeated and thus not incidental, it is plausible that the actions committed by the company were conducted consciously and deliberately. This criterion is met when the behaviour occurs over a longer period of time or on multiple occasions (e.g. it is not incidental), and/or when the company in question has been made aware of the harmful impacts associated with its behaviour, but patterns of behaviour continue to persist.
Resulting in avoiding responsibility
While virtually all corporate strategies (indirectly) aim to protect or increase profits, and some of these strategies have harmful effects, only a subset results in avoiding responsibility for adverse impacts. For instance, tax avoidance strategies have a harmful societal impact since they deprive society of tax income, but the strategy in itself does not result in avoiding responsibility for those harms; it is purely aimed at maximising profit. Likewise, certain advertising strategies might have harmful societal effects (for example, by incentivising unhealthy behaviour), but the strategy does not aim to avoid responsibility for those adverse impacts; it aims to grow their customer base. This website only focuses on the subset of corporate strategies that result in avoiding responsibility.
Case studies are based on multiple sources
Examples featured as evidence are drawn from research reports, civil society outreach and topic-specific searches through academic, policy and civil society databases, court documents, and media reports. For each example, at least two sources have been used to corroborate the claims.
Examples researched by others
Alongside the case studies, this website includes examples researched by others. These examples are presented with reference to the original public available sources.
Many more examples are expected to be reported in the future, and hopefully the Mind the Gap framework will help people to identify and expose the harmful strategies at play around the world. Stakeholders are invited to ‘flag’ cases in the same category through the ‘submit a case’ option.