Will extractive companies learn to ‘love truth’?

When I was a kid I hated Love Hearts sweets. Not only did I think they were too girly, they also tasted horrible! 

Tearfund, ONE and CAFOD campaigners call on BIS Minister Norman Lamb MP to 'Love Truth'

So I never expected, twenty years later, to be dressed as a miner the day before valentine’s – together with ONE and Cafod – carrying a huge Love Heart sweet through Whitehall calling on new BIS minister Norman Lamb MP to ‘Love Truth’ in the extractive industry.

But then that’s just one of the joys of being a campaigner rather than a policy officer, getting up at the crack of dawn, donning a fancy dress costume, calling on our leaders to tackle the injustice of corruption.

And why were we calling on Mr Lamb to ‘Love Truth’? Well it turns out that two thirds the world’s poorest people live in countries rich in oil, gas and minerals. Natural resources that should be being used to lift millions of people out of poverty.

But, due to secrecy and corruption, poorer communities are not benefiting from the wealth beneath their feet.

In Africa alone it’s estimated that a quarter of the continent’s annual income goes missing due to corruption. That’s approximately $148bn  a year, more than enough money to achieve all of the Millennium Development Goals on that continent.

But there is something we can all do about this!

Oil, mining and gas companies listed on European Union stock exchanges are valued at over €2 trillion, making the EU the second largest home of extractive companies in the world after the US.

European leaders are already discussing whether to implement new accounting and transparency laws. Now is the time for our MEPs, the Danish Presidency, and newly promoted Norman Lamb MP to show wisdom and leadership and act.

The next six months are critical to this campaign. Take action at www.tearfund.org/unearth and stand with poorer communities seeking to unearth the truth on corruption.

And, if you’re more policy focussed, you can always read our latest policy report on the campaign here.

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