October 10, 2018

Shahidi project links corporate power to the global food crisis

“Our goal with the Shahidi project is to facilitate an open platform for communities, activists, researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders to promote transparency and accountability in decisions over social and public goods, and to scrutinize and challenge corporate power."-Elsadig Elsheikh, Haas Institute program manager

Today, the Haas Institute launched a new monitoring project that documents the power and influence of 10 mega corporations—which own hundreds of subsidiaries in the agriculture, food production, and sales industries—over the design of the global food system that has left millions of people around the world in hunger.

Shahidi: Corporations Decoded” documents corporations’ profits, track records on human rights, labor, and the environment; their congressional lobbying power and influence over government; identifies policy issues, bills, and government regulations in which they were involved; and lists their contracts awarded to provide services for federal government agencies.

As part of the project we're also publishing a new research brief, titled "The Era of Corporate Consolidation and the End of Competition," which examines the implications on the global food system of the recent merger of Bayer-Monsanto, Dow-DuPont, and ChemChina-Syngenta. The report argues that these mergers, and other examples of agribusiness consolidation, pose a danger to the ecosystem, exacerbate the climate crisis, food insecurity, and reduce competition and innovation.

An image shows the corporate logos of the 10 corporations profiled in the shahidi project
Shahidi means "witness" in Swahili, and the name of the project speaks to the idea that the public must be able to observe and understand the root causes of the global food crisis to recognize the larger power structures at play. It arose out of a need to address the crisis in which 800 million people are estimated to suffer from hunger globally due to high prices and a lack of accessibility to food due to a system that puts people’s lives at risk for the sake of profits.

The interactive database provides multi-layered data on 10 of the largest food corporations in the world, with information about the corporation’s scale of operations around the globe, its lobbying influence in legislatures and academia, its monopoly over many products consumed in the food and agricultural systems, and more.

Check out the new platform here, and watch a video explainer of the new project through the link below.
An image grab from an explainer video about the shahidi project shows a giant cartton boot crushing a farm
This explainer video provides background and context on issues facing the global food system—and the major impetus for the Shahidi Project. Watch now.

Who Belongs?: New Episode

Steve Barton and Nicole Monto smile in a recording room after an interview about their rent control paperA new episode of our Who Belongs? podcast is now available. Episode 2 features an interview with Nicole Montojo, a housing researcher at the Haas Institute, and Steve Barton, a former city of Berkeley housing director, about their popular rent control paper that was recently published. In the interview, Nicole and Steve detail some of the realities of California's housing affordability crisis which has driven millions of people into poverty, and explain how rent control, if expanded across the state, could offer immediate relief to overburdened renters. Listen to the interview and read a transcript here.

See this page for previous episodes of Who Belongs?
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