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How to Follow the Money

Why Follow the Money Behind Harmful Projects?

Companies need money to develop environmentally and socially risky projects such as mines, power plants and industrial plantations. Understanding where that money comes from can empower environmental and human rights defenders in their struggles for justice and corporate accountability.

By following the money, you can better understand who is behind harmful projects and identify the best “pressure points” for advocacy. You can use this information to design effective strategies to hold corporations accountable and improve the situation on the ground for affected communities.

How Do You Follow the Money?

The global financial system is complex. Following the money isn’t easy often by design. This resource aims to help community advocates understand powerful corporate interests so they can take them on more effectively. It demonstrates in practical terms how to uncover and analyze the stakeholders that enable and profit from harmful projects. The resource is based on Inclusive Development International’s six years of experience conducting more than 150 Follow the Money investigations.

To get started, users need only an internet connection, an openness to learning new concepts, and a healthy dose of tenacity. The sections are divided thematically and are supported by case studies that guide you through real-life research problems. A suite of data tools developed in partnership with the University of Chicago a sort of Wall Street-style financial database for activists is available on the site to aid users in their research.

Every project is different. But in our experience, nearly every harmful project has pressure points for advocacy concealed from view. With the right approach and tools, along with some persistence, these opportunities for advocacy can be found.

We hope you find this guide useful. Good luck!