Corporate capture refers to the means by which companies can undermine the realization of human rights by exerting inappropriate influence over national and international decision-makers and public institutions. For example, companies may pressure legislatures and policy makers including through lobbying to benefit business interests, or remove/undermine relevant regulations that seek to protect human rights, such as those relating to consumer protection, climate change or trade union rights. Such interference may also include provision of campaign or other donations to elected officials in return for draft legislation or votes favorable to corporate interests. Similarly, business interests can exert influence over the courts to ensure they provide favorable outcomes for corporations while undermining access to remedy and accountability.
Companies also engage with and contribute millions to trade associations and other organizations that lobby indirectly on their behalf without specific disclosure or accountability, while the prevalence of the revolving door phenomenon is widespread. For example, at least 88 cases of revolving doors were documented in the fossil fuel sector in just 13 EU countries.
In line with their human rights responsibilities, investors should ensure companies disclose their policies and procedures governing direct and indirect lobbying; payments for lobbying including amounts and recipients; their engagement with tax-exempt organizations that write and endorse model legislation; as well as governance decision-making and oversight processes for making lobbying payments.
- Corporate Capture Project, ESCR-Net.
- Corporate Reform Coalition
- FACT SHEET: The Investor Campaign for Corporate Political Activity Disclosure, Sustainable Investments Institute, 2016.
- Majority Report: If Mutual Fund Companies Changed Their Votes, Shareholder Support for Political Spending Disclosure Would Skyrocket, Public Citizen, 2017.
- OECD Recommendation on Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying
- Revolving Doors and the Fossil Fuel Industry: Time to Tackle Conflicts of Interest in Climate Policy-Making, Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament, 2018.