What you’ve made possible this year.
Letter from the chair of the board of directors
Greetings from a fellow supporter of Corporate Accountability. As the chair of the board of directors, I am pleased to have this opportunity to thank you for what you have made possible this year. In the pages of this annual report, you’ll read all about the impact you’ve had. And you’ll see the strength you’ve helped build to propel this organization forward into its fifth decade.
Today, I am convinced that Corporate Accountability’s work is one of the brightest lights shining in these dark times. This fearless organization that we are building together is helping reclaim our democracy from the clutches of corporate power; indeed, it is creating fundamental changes in the very structures of power in our society.
In this moment, with you by our side, Corporate Accountability is growing and building. This summer, I oversaw an important leadership transition. Kelle Louaillier stepped into the role of president emeritus and Patti Lynn fully took the helm of the organization as she continues in her role of executive director.
It is hard to overestimate the contribution Kelle has made to the organization during her 30-year tenure. She does not simply imagine the world as it should be — she urges us to do the work to bring that world into reality. She has challenged all of us to stretch further and do more than we ever thought we could. Corporate Accountability is the powerhouse organization that it is today because of Kelle’s passionate belief that we must accomplish what is necessary to save lives, to shift power, to ensure global survival — even if it seems impossible at first glance. Her lasting impact is clear.
And she will continue to have an impact. As president emeritus, Kelle provides strategic advice across campaigns and programs and serves as a lead ambassador for the organization and our mission. At the same time, Patti has made sure that Corporate Accountability’s work and success seamlessly continue. She brings 20 years of strategic campaign experience with the organization, an intense commitment to challenging injustice, and a visionary approach to leadership development. She will ensure we continue to achieve the powerful victories that we have come to expect from this organization.
Under Patti’s leadership, we are set to catapult to ever greater impact: securing international law that will bring about a just climate future, ensuring that water privatizers cannot undermine communities’ rights to clean water, holding the tobacco industry liable for all the harms it has caused, and advancing food justice. Patti’s fundamental commitment to justice is leading us forward in our work of creating a world where people and communities have control over their most basic resources, health, and decision-making; one where corporate power is held in check and where transnational corporations are held accountable for all the harms they have caused.
This visionary progress will only be possible through committed partnerships with allied organizations and members like you and me. I am proud to be part of Corporate Accountability at this exciting moment, and I hope you are as well. We are making history together.
With many thanks for your steadfast commitment to a better world,
Chair, Board of Directors
Letter from our executive director
As I’ve moved into my new responsibilities at Corporate Accountability, I have been thinking about a quote by Rebecca Solnit: “This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen. It’s also a nightmarish time. Full engagement requires the ability to perceive both.”
Each day, I hold this complexity. I carry the knowledge that transnational corporations are destroying people’s lives and threatening our global survival. I am also inspired daily as I see how we — all who share the vision of a better world, including you — have exactly what we need to achieve transformative change. I am honored to be building on our successful, comprehensive, and global approach to systemic change. For 40 years, our corporate campaigns have mobilized grassroots action to apply direct pressure to corporations, while simultaneously empowering democratic institutions to rein in corporate power. I am excited to carry forward the impact my friend and mentor, our President Emeritus Kelle Louaillier, has herself so boldly made possible to move us out of this nightmarish time into a just and equitable future built on strategic action and deep partnerships.
I cannot forget the first time I confronted corporate power face-to-face in 1999. In a hot room packed with Philip Morris executives, shareholders, and employees, I rose from my seat and stepped into the aisle at the tobacco corporation’s shareholders’ meeting. A brand-new Infact organizer, I took the microphone. My knees shook as if I were standing on my own private faultline. But I knew what I came to say wasn’t about me — it was about the people around the world who had a message for this corporation’s CEO: Stop exploiting our lives for your bottom line.
I’ve carried that experience forward throughout my years of organizing. Early in my tenure, I organized closely with people from the Pacific Islands, Nigeria, India, and many other countries across the Global South to secure the global tobacco treaty. Together, we took on the U.S. and the tobacco industry’s attempts to undermine the treaty. Every time we faced an executive or government representative, I felt an echo of the tremor I felt at that shareholders’ meeting. And every time, the seasoned organizers I was learning from reminded me this was never about my fears — it was about the work we were doing in partnership with people across the U.S. and around the world. As I grew in leadership, eventually overseeing the development of the water, food, and climate campaigns, I remained grounded in the power of people acting together — knowing and experiencing that people organizing strategically overcome tremendous odds. And as we do, we lift each other up and create possibility for even greater change.
In recent years, we’ve witnessed emerging movements employing organizing and collective action rooted in an intersectional analysis of power and oppression. Learning from the Movement for Black Lives, the Indigenous-led resistance at Standing Rock, #MeToo, and other “leader-full” movements, we are doing the work to organize more deeply and equitably with communities of color and low-income communities in the U.S. and around the world who are challenging corporate power. Your support is making it possible for Corporate Accountability to work across differences, sharing our decades of corporate campaign expertise while learning from and centering the experiences and leadership of communities of color, especially women of color.
Together, we are taking strategic action as we continue to build on the foundation of courageous and determined organizing that powered the Nestlé boycott four decades ago.
Together, we have an ambitious vision. For a world that affirms life, where all people can meet their full human potential. Some days, this vision can be hard to hold on to. But I know that if we embody the qualities of the future we want to live in, if we act with courage, hope, and in reciprocity, the future we build together will be even better than we can imagine today.
Thank you for your partnership in creating this beautiful future.
Rising to the moment: The victories of 2018
You compel Veolia to drop key scheme for privatizing water in the US
Grassroots organizing throws cold water on privatization threat in Pittsburgh
With “knowledge hub,” you equip governments to protect public health
You expose Philip Morris’ phony foundation | At shareholders’ meeting, you compel the corporation to answer for its deadly impact
You tell US to stand down at UN climate talks
You expose the corporate capture of the U.N. climate treaty talks
You bring a clear message to McDonald’s doorstep: marketing has no place in our schools
California teachers reject McTeacher’s Nights statewide | You support educators across the US to stop McDonald’s exploitation
Rising in partnership
“Corporate Accountability has been in solidarity with the people of Flint in challenging Governor Snyder for prioritizing corporate profit over the lives of Flint residents. It’s so good to have Corporate Accountability as a partner in our ongoing fight for water justice.” Nayyirah Shariff | Director, Flint Rising
Our enduring partnerships create a united front powerful enough to take on the most dangerous transnational corporations. Get to know some of the people and organizations who power this work.
Members like you are building a world where corporations answer to people, not the other way around.
Meet four members who are challenging corporate power.