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demonstrators on Buchanan steps with banner reading 'corporate courts kill climate justice'

Corporate Trade Deals Block Climate Action

The coalition has been raising awareness of the ways in which corporate trade deals block climate action.

We produced this briefing for MSPs ahead of COP26, highlighting how trade deals currently being negotiated by the UK government will weaken the UK and Scottish government’s ability to put in place strong laws and policies to tackle climate change.

Read the briefing here

Use it to talk to your MSP about trade and climate justice!

Exit the Energy Charter Treaty

The UK government is one of 50 countries signed up to the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). This is a little-known trade deal that includes a mechanism known as ‘ISDS’ or ‘corporate courts’ that allows fossil fuel companies to sue governments if they put in place new climate laws and policies that impact on their profits.

Recent examples of companies suing governments using the ECT include:

  • The Netherlands is being sued by two fossil fuel companies, RWE and Uniper, for phasing out coal power
  • One UK fossil fuel company, Ascent Resources, is suing Slovenia over fracking
  • Another UK fossil fuel company, Rockhopper, is suing Italy over a ban on offshore oil drilling close to the coast

It is clear that if we are serious about taking action to tackle climate change, the UK needs to leave the ECT.

The treaty is currently under review and a number of countries are considering leaving.

Ask the Scottish parliament to support the call for the UK government to leave the ECT

Labour MSP Mercedes Vilabha has put down a motion pointing out the dangers of the ECT and calling on the UK to leave it in order to tackle climate change.

Please ask your local MSPs to sign the motion.

Take part in the e-action here

Take action against undemocratic trade deals

The UK government is currently negotiating trade deals with countries around the world in secret, and without democratic scrutiny and accountability. The Trade Justice Scotland Coalition is campaigning to bring these deals into the open with the Scottish parliament and Scottish citizens given a voice in what these deals contain and the power to stop any deal that would be bad for people and planet.

Find out more/take action

Watch the podcast on trade and coronavirus from Global Justice Now

Sign the petition against a US trade deal under President Biden

Find out more about data privacy and future trade deals 

Read about how trade deals might impact on everyday concerns in Scotland here

Take Action against Corporate Courts

Imagine a world where transnational corporations don’t have to follow the same laws as everyone else, but instead have their own corporate courts. Not courts where the companies are put on trial, but where corporations sue governments for huge sums of money.

It sounds like dystopian science fiction, but corporate courts are real. Also known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), these special privileges are granted to transnational companies by rules in trade and investment deals.

ISDS has enabled corporations to sue countries for policies and laws that they consider threaten their profits  even when those policies and laws are designed to protect public health, human rights and the environment.

Across the world, taxpayers are forced to cough up millions which could be used for healthcare or education, to ‘compensate’ corporations for democratic decisions that protect people and planet. Often the threat of a case alone can also pressure governments to back down on important policies.

ISDS petition hand in
Photo: ISDS petition hand in

In the UK, as the government reassesses trade and investment policy in a post-Brexit context we want assurances that ISDS will have no place in future trade deals. In January, some of our member organisations handed in a petition with 70,000 signatures to the Department for International Trade calling on the UK government to commit to keeping controversial ‘corporate courts’ out of post-Brexit trade deals.

Read this detailed briefing about corporate courts

Read more on the ISDS petition here

Just Trade Principles

Please ask your MP to sign up to these ethical trade principles.

Read the Just Trade Principles

Read the Just Principles for Trade policy briefing (useful for writing to your MP)