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A "co-operative providing critical information on the social and environmental impacts of corporations and capitalism". A bit weak on deeper narratives, though...

Corporate Watch.jpg
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Started: 1996

Corporate Watch (The Corporate Watch Co-Operative Ltd.) is a research group based in the UK. It describes itself as a "research group that helps people stand up against corporations and capitalism." And as a "not-for-profit co-operative providing critical information on the social and environmental impacts of corporations and capitalism." It was established in 1996.[1]

While providing "Broader research and analysis into how capitalism works"[1], it does not particularly cover deeper narratives. For example, while investigating profiteering from Covid jabs, it does not look into more sinister possibilities.


"As well as money from subscriptions, sale of literature, and donations from supporters, Corporate Watch is also funded by a range of grant-giving bodies, including:" [2]

Research areas and notable investigations


  • "Wreckers of the Earth" map. Corporate Watch's "Wreckers of the Earth" project is a map and directory of "300 London-based companies destroying the planet". It was first published in 2020, and updated in October 2021. It includes a poster map for printing; an online map using Open Street Maps, listing all the companies' main office locations; and a company directory with entries giving the companies' addresses and explaining what they do.[3] The second edition was published in the run-up to the COP 26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, where it was used by campaign groups including "Glasgow Calls Out Polluters"—who also produced an accompanying "Polluters Map" of Glasgow.[4]
  • HS2 "who profits?". Corporate Watch has supported the campaign against the UK's planned HS2 (High Speed 2) railway, producing a "poster explainer" on "who profits" from the scheme.[5]
  • In November 2021 Corporate Watch published a series of five reports on "Eco-defence and international solidarity". These highlighted ecological struggles around the world involving companies with bases in London.[6]


A core strand of Corporate Watch's work has been investigating landlords and property developers in support of tenants' groups and people opposing the "gentrification" of their neighbourhoods. Examples include:

  • Report on Glasgow Housing Association (part of Wheatley Group), investigating its rent rise plans and finances, in support of Scottish tenants' union Living Rent[7]
  • Reports on housing outsourcing company Mears Group, supporting the "Mears Cats" tenants group in East London, as well as residents of its Government-contracted housing for asylum seekers.[8]
  • A report on the Australian-based multinational property developer Lendlease. This was used as part of the successful 2017-18 campaign against the "Haringey Development Vehicle" in London, the UK's biggest proposed privatisation of local property assets.[9] (Lendlease responded to the Corporate Watch report with a rebuttal on its website. It said: the report "sought to paint our company as one that exploited urban communities and duped their elected leaders in a grab for profit. If this was true as written, our business model would be short-lived."[10])
  • Investigations into the finances of Hyde Housing, for tenants groups in London and South East England[11][12]
  • Report on Grainger, one of the companies leading the growth of new "Build to Rent" private landlord developments in the UK[13]

"Covid Capitalism" and vaccine profiteering

During COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021 Corporate Watch published two series of articles and reports on "#CoronaCapitalism" and "Vaccine Capitalism". The "Covid Capitalism" articles investigated companies profiting from the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, including outsourcing companies winning UK government contracts with little scrutiny.[14] An article "Six ways that capitalism spreads the crisis" argued that the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, and responses to it, were closely connected to structures of global capitalism.[15]

The "Vaccine capitalism" series looked at the profits being forecast by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.[16] Corporate Watch argued that these companies were making "huge profits" from vaccine sales, even though most R&D into the vaccines was heavily subsidised by public funds. (It included AstraZeneca in this critique, arguing that the company's claims to be forgoing profits from its vaccine were hollow in several respects.)[17] It identified the source of these high profits in the intellectual property system that allows major corporations to patent drugs such as vaccines.[18]

"The UK Border Regime"

Corporate Watch produces research in support of migrant campaigns, and groups opposing immigration raids, immigration detention and deportations. In particular, it produces regular reports on the companies profiteering from the UK's "Border Regime". These include:

  • Reports on the security firms that run immigration detention centres in the UK: Mitie,[19] G4S,[20] Serco,[21] and GEO Group.[22]
  • Investigations revealing the airlines that carry out deportation flights. These have looked at both charter airlines such as Titan,[23] Tui,[24] Privilege Style,[25] and Hi Fly.[26] And also scheduled airlines including British Airways, Easyjet and others.[27]
  • Investigations into the "Asylum Housing" contractors that have Government contracts to provide housing for asylum seekers, including in ex-military barracks camps such as Napier in Kent, and Penally in Wales (now closed). These include Mears Group[28] and Clearsprings Ready Homes.[29] Corporate Watch also published an interview with the "Camp Residents of Penally (CROP)" residents union in support of their struggle for better conditions in the camp.[30]

Corporate Watch's book The UK Border Regime, published in 2018, brings together much of the group's research on this area. It outlines how the UK immigration authorities work together as part of an overall "regime" with private sector contractors and collaborators, and also other players including lobby groups and media outlets pushing anti-migration messages.[31]

Some recent reports have looked at:

  • How Brexit is affecting UK immigration policies, including the Home Office's high profile "deportation drive" against migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats.[32]
  • The charities play in the "border regime": such as the charity funder Choose Love's decision to drop aid funding for migrants in Calais, which "whistleblower" sources claimed was linked to pressure from the Home Office.[33]


A document sourced from CorporateWatch

TitleTypeSubject(s)Publication dateAuthor(s)
January 2012Tom Anderson
Georgia Clough
Therezia Cooper
Jack Curry
Pete Jones


  1. a b About Corporate Watch Corporate Watch, 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  2. About, Corporate Watch, accessed February 22, 2009.
  19. {
  29. Watch
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