The Corporate Mapping Project is shining a bright light on the fossil fuel industry by investigating the ways corporate power is organized and exercised. The initiative is a partnership of academic and community-based researchers and advisors who share a commitment to advancing reliable knowledge that supports citizen action and transparent public policy making.

We focus on “mapping” how power and influence play out in the oil, gas and coal industries of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. We will also map the wider connections that link Western Canada’s fossil fuel sector to other sectors of the economy (both national and global) and to other parts of society (governments and other public institutions, think tanks and lobby groups, etc).

Our mapping efforts are focused in four key areas:

  1. How are the people and companies that control fossil-fuel corporations organized as a network, and how does that network connect with other sectors of the Canadian and global economy? That is, how is economic power organized in and around the fossil-fuel sector?
  2. How does that economic power reach into political and cultural life, though elite networks, funding relationships, lobbying and mass-media advertising and messaging? What are the implications of such corporate influence for politics and society?
  3. How is corporate power wielded at ground level, from fossil-fuel extraction and transport right through to final consumption? If we follow a barrel of bitumen from its source to the end user, how does it affect the communities and environments all along the way? How and why do certain links along these commodity chains become flashpoints of intense political struggle, as we have seen particularly with pipeline projects?
  4. How can we build capacity for citizen monitoring of corporate power and influence, while expanding the space for democratic discussion?

Over the next six years, our partnership will answer these questions and make our research widely available. We are developing an open-source, publicly-accessible database of who’s who in and around the fossil-fuel sector – coming soon to this website. And we will engage Canadians in a conversation about the role of the fossil fuel sector in our democracy.

To learn more, check out these short articles:

Or see who’s part of the project here and here.

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