For those working on achieving meaningful action about climate change, locally and internationally, effective communications can create hope, improve people’s understanding of the causes and solutions, open doors to collaboration between people, business and politicians, and motivate people to act in meaningful ways, to be agents of change. We can inspire our children, show them all that is possible when adults come together to work on understanding the problems, and building better systems for them and their children and the planet we live in partnership with.
When multinational corporations and the super-rich use tax havens to avoid paying their fair share, it is ordinary people, and especially the poorest, who pay the price. The Mauritius Leaks show that tax havens continue not only to exist but to prosper, despite government promises to rein in tax dodging. This briefing lists five steps governments can take to tackle tax avoidance, and end the era of tax havens and the race to the bottom on corporate taxation.
In 2015, the leaders of 193 governments promised to reduce inequality under Goal 10 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Without reducing inequality, meeting SDG 1 to eliminate poverty will be impossible. In 2017, Development Finance International (DFI) and Oxfam produced the first index to measure the commitment of governments to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor.
New Oxfam research shows that four pharmaceutical corporations—Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co. (also known as MSD), and Pfizer—systematically stash their profits in overseas tax havens. They appear to deprive developing countries of more than NZ$150 million every year—money that is urgently needed to meet the health needs of people in these countries—while vastly overcharging for their products. It is estimated that New Zealand loses NZ$21 million every year.
Inequality is rampant across the global economy, and the agro-food sector is no exception. At the top, big supermarkets and other corporate food giants dominate global food markets, allowing them to squeeze value from vast supply chains that span the globe, while at the bottom the bargaining power of small-scale farmers and workers has been steadily eroded in many of the countries from which they source.
Last year saw the biggest increase in billionaires in history, one more every two days. This huge increase could have ended global extreme poverty seven times over. 82% of all wealth created in the last year went to the top 1%, and nothing went to the bottom 50%.
Dangerous, poorly paid work for the many is supporting extreme wealth for the few. Women are in the worst work, and almost all the super-rich are men. Governments must create a more equal society by prioritizing ordinary workers and small-scale food producers instead of the rich and powerful.
Climate change is already forcing people from their land and homes, and putting many more at risk of displacement in the future. Supercharged storms, more intense droughts, rising seas and other impacts of climate change all magnify existing vulnerabilities and the likelihood of displacement, disproportionately affecting low-income countries, women, children and indigenous peoples.
In 2015, the leaders of 193 governments promised to reduce inequality as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Without reducing inequality, meeting the SDG to eliminate poverty will be impossible. Now Development Finance International and Oxfam have produced the first index to measure the commitment of governments to reducing the gap between the rich and the poor.
Big business is able to take advantage of loopholes in global tax laws and avoid tax on a massive scale. This deprives governments around the world of the money they need to tackle poverty and inequality. It means there is less for them to invest in healthcare, education and jobs.