GPF Analysis: Corporate Influence


Corporate Influence on Global Governance: GPF Analysis

SG_at_WEF_2014UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon meets with World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab, Davos 2014. (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

This section brings together recent reports and articles written by Global Policy Forum, tracking and analyzing the political influence of the private sector - particularly large transnational corporations - on arenas of global governance. Recent work focuses on the United Nations in particular, and how a small number of corporations, business associations, and private philanthropic foundations engage with multiple processes to ensure that the outcomes align with a global pro-business agenda. As this work illustrates, corporations and their proxies transform the discourse and/or block progressive outcomes in both the UN's sustainable development post-2015 and the business and human rights processes, pushing (overtly and/or silently) for "multi-stakeholder" governance models and voluntary, non-binding corporate social responsibility commitments. 

2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | before


One step further towards global regulation of business

Report of the third session of the UN working group on a binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (“treaty”)


Author: Karolin Seitz
Published by Global Policy Forum and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office
Bonn/New York, January 2018

Download the briefing paper here (pdf, 248 KB)

Download the briefing paper in German here (pdf, 241 KB)



Position paper of the Treaty Alliance Germany on the UN treaty process on transnational corporations and other business enterprises

Published by Attac Deutschland, Brot für die Welt, Bund für Umwelt- und Naturschutz Deutschland, Christliche Initiative Romero, CorA-Netzwerk für Unternehmensverantwortung, Femnet, FIAN Deutschland, Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Lateinamerika, Forum Fairer Handel, Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung, Global Policy Forum, INKOTA-netzwerk, medico international, MISEREOR, PowerShift, SÜDWIND and WEED

Berlin, December 2017

Download the full position papier here (pdf, 290 KB)


UN Treaty - Menschenrechte vor Profit


Herausgegeben von Christliche Initiative Romero, Attac Deutschland, FIAN Deutschland, Südwind, MISEREOR, Brot für die Welt, DGB, CorA-Netzwerk für Unternehmensverantwortung, Global Policy Forum, medico international, European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).

Berlin, Oktober 2017

Zum Download der Bündniszeitung (pdf, 712 KB)


Politische Gestaltungsmacht für die sozial-ökologische Transformation

Privatisierung, Partnerschaften, Unternehmensmacht und die Umsetzung der Agenda 2030

Internationale Politikanalyse

Autor: Jens Martens
Herausgeber: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung und Global Policy Forum
Berlin/Bonn, August 2017
ISBN 978-3-95861-928-9

Download (pdf, 250 KB)


Report of the Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Privatization, partnerships, corporate capture and their impact on sustainability and inequality - assessments and alternatives

Published by Social Watch, Third World Network, Global Policy Forum, Arab NGO Network for Development, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era, Society for International Development, Public Servies International, Center for Economic and Social Rights with support from Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

Beirut/Bonn/Ferney-Voltaire/Montevideo/New York/Penang/Rome/Suva, July 2017

ISBN 978-3-943126-33-4


Partnerschaften mit Risiken

Über die Chancen, Gefahren und Nebenwirkungen von Multi-Akteur-Partnerschaften für nachhaltige Entwicklung

Ein Dossier von Brot für die Welt, Global Policy Forum und MISEREOR in Zusammenarbeit mit der Redaktion welt-sichten
Konzept und Redaktion: Karolin Seitz, Klaus Schilder, Mareike Haase, Anja Ruf
Aachen/Bonn/Berlin/Frankfurt a.M., Mai 2017
24 Seiten

Zum Download des Dossiers (pdf, 2.020 KB)


Corporate influence on the G20

The case of the B20 and transnational business networks

Author: Jens Martens
Published by Global Policy Forum and Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung
ISBN 978-3-943126-32-7
Bonn/Berlin/New York, March 2017

Download the full paper here (pdf, 900 KB).


Die Wirtschaftslobby und die G20

Die Business20 und das Geflecht transnationaler Unternehmensnetzwerke rund um die G20

Autor: Jens Martens
Herausgegeben von Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung und Global Policy Forum
Bonn/Berlin, März 2017

Das gesamte Briefing hier zum Download (pdf, 300 KB)


Globale Partnerschaften

Wundermittel zur Umsetzung der 2030-Agenda?

Autoren: Jens Martens und Karolin Seitz
Herausgeber: Global Policy Forum Europe
ISBN: 978-3-943126-31-0
Bonn, Februar 2017
68 Seiten

Zum Download des Arbeitspapiers (pdf, 1,3 MB)


Multi-Akteur-Partnerschaften in der 2030-Agenda

Elemente eines rechtlichen und institutionellen Rahmens


Autoren: Jens Martens und Karolin Seitz
Herausgeber: Global Policy Forum Europe
Bonn, Februar 2017

Zum Download des Briefings (pdf, 200 KB)


Gestiftete Entwicklung?

Die Kooperation zwischen der deutschen Entwicklungspolitik und privaten Stiftungen

Autor/innen: Jens Martens und Karolin Seitz
Herausgeber: Brot für die Welt, Global Policy Forum, MISEREOR
Aachen/Berlin/Bonn/New York, Januar 2017

ISBN 978-3-943126-29-7

Download (pdf, 880 KB)



“Morality cannot be legislated, but behaviour can be regulated”

Bericht über die zweite Tagung der UN-Arbeitsgruppe zur Erstellung eines verbindlichen Rechtsinstruments zu Wirtschaft und Menschenrechten, 24.-28. Oktober 2016, Genf


Autorin: Karolin Seitz
Herausgegeber: Brot für die Welt, Global Policy Forum, MISEREOR
Aachen/Berlin/Bonn, Dezember 2016

Download (pdf, 641 KB)


FENSA - a fence against undue corporate influence?

The new Framework of Engagement with non-State Actors at the World Health Organization


Published by Brot für die Welt/Global Policy Forum/MISEREOR
Author: Karolin Seitz
Aachen/Berlin/Bonn, September 2016
9 pages

Download the briefing paper (PDF, 795 KB)


The Struggle for a UN Treaty

Towards global regulation on human rights and business

Published by Global Policy Forum/Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office
Authors: Jens Martens and Karolin Seitz
Berlin/Bonn/New York, August 2016
61 pages
ISBN 978-3-943126-28-0

Download the Working Paper (PDF, 712 KB)

Download the German version (PDF, 1,4 MB)



Philanthropic Power and Development

Who shapes the agenda?

Published by Brot für die Welt/Global Policy Forum/MISEREOR
Authors: Jens Martens and Karolin Seitz
Aachen/Berlin/Bonn/New York, November 2015
76 pages
ISBN 978-3-943126-21-1

Download the Working Paper here.

Download a German summary here.


Fit for whose purpose?

Private funding and corporate influence in the United Nations

Published by Global Policy Forum
Authors: Barbara Adams and Jens Martens
Bonn/New York, September 2015
140 pages
ISBN 978-3-943126-20-4

Download full report here (PDF, 2,5 MB)

For single chapters, please see here.



Corporate influence through the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa

Working Paper

Author: Wolfgang Obenland
Published by Global Policy Forum/Brot für die Welt/MISEREOR
Aachen/Berlin/Bonn/New York, August 2014
ISBN 978-3-943126-18-1

Download here (pdf, 590 KB).


La influencia empresarial en el proceso post-2015

Cuadernos 2015 y más

Autora: Lou Pingeot
Editores: Plataforma 2015 y más, MISEREOR, GPF, Brot für die Welt
Madrid, Julio de 2014

Descárguelo aquí (pdf, 1,1 MB)


Beyond the “Partnerships” Approach: Corporate Accountability Post-2015

GPF Briefing 2

Download here (pdf, 80 KB)


Privatizing Global Governance: Corporate Influence at the United Nations

GPF Briefing 1

Download here (pdf, 90 KB)


Corporate Influence on the Business and Human Rights Agenda of the United Nations

Working Paper

Author: Jens Martens
Published by Brot für die Welt/Global Policy Forum/MISEREOR
Aachen/Berlin/Bonn/New York, June 2014
ISBN: 978-3-943126-16-7

Download here (pdf, 800 KB).


Contracting Insecurity

Private military and security companies and the future of the United Nations


Author: Lou Pingeot
Published by: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office and Global Policy Forum
Bonn/New York, February 2014

Download here (pdf, 1,5 MB)


Corporate influence in the Post-2015 process

Working Paper

Author: Lou Pingeot
Published by: Brot für die Welt/Global Policy Forum/Misereor
Aachen/Berlin/Bonn/New York, January 2014

Download here (pdf, 630 KB)



Whose Development, Whose UN?


Authors: Barbara Adams and Lou Pingeot
Published by: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Berlin/New York, November 2013
ISBN 978-3-86498-698-7

Download (pdf, 170 KB)


Misdirecting finance – who benefits?

Comments by the Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspectives

Published by the Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspectives, September 2013. 

Download (pdf, 140 KB)


The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa: Is the initiative by the G8 countries suitable for combating poverty?

A Policy Paper by the German NGO Forum on Environment & Development

July 2013
Published by the German NGO Forum on Environment & Development

Download (pdf - 500 KB)



Dangerous Partnership: Private Military and Security Companies and the UN


Author: Lou Pingeot
Published by: Global Policy Forum/Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung
New York, June 2012

Download (pdf, 950 kb)
Download executive summary (pdf, 190 kb



Civil Society and the United Nations (December 2011)

This paper from Global Policy Forum describes and analyzes the relationship between civil society and the UN. The essay charts the struggle since 1945 to enlarge NGO access, from the first steps in the 1940s and ‘50s, to the blossoming of new organizations in the 1970’s, the dynamism of the 1990s, and the increasing difficulties of 2000 and beyond. (Global Policy Forum)
[First published by Uppsala University in Global Civil Society: Shifting Powers in a Shifting World, 2011]

Download (pdf, 105 KB)


Problematic Pragmatism (June 2008)

Global Policy Forum's Jens Martens gives a critical analysis of the 2008 report by UN Special Representative for Business and Human Rights John Ruggie – "Protect, Respect and Remedy: a Framework for Business and Human Rights." Martens calls the report "a description of the status quo" that does not leave the door open for developing new ideas on international law and corporate responsibility. Martens offers concrete steps, based on Ruggie's recommendations, towards increasing corporate accountability, such as creating an International Advisory Center, using Security Council sanctions and strengthening national complaints mechanisms.

Jens Martens: Problematic Pragmatism. The Ruggie Report 2008: Background, Analysis and Perspectives
June 2008
Published by Misereor and GFP Europe

Download (pdf, 400 KB)