New global programme: Opening Extractives launch

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Open Ownership · Feb 2021

A new joint programme between Open Ownership (OO) and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), supported by the BHP Foundation, aims to end the use of anonymous companies linked to corruption and mismanagement in natural resources.

Today, OO and the EITI launched Opening Extractives, a global programme to advance beneficial ownership transparency (BOT). Opening Extractives aims to make a transformational impact in the amount of publicly available information on the owners of extractive companies.

The oil, gas, and mining sectors are at acute risk of corruption due to the significant revenues stemming from these public assets. Anonymous companies have too often facilitated corruption in the sector, as revealed in a series of scandals from the 2016 Panama Papers to the 2020 Luanda Leaks.

Publishing details of company ownership enables effective taxation and discloses data that can be used to identify and address corruption. It can help build fairer markets, encourage responsible investment, and manage business risk.

Research carried out last year by OO and the EITI has shown there is both high demand for technical assistance to achieve BOT, and a need for tailored support to address the complex dynamics that give rise to reform.

Opening Extractives will be partly funded by the BHP Foundation and delivered by OO and the EITI International Secretariat.

“Opening Extractives will ultimately improve the quality of life of millions of people in resource-rich countries,” said James Ensor, BHP Foundation Chief Executive Officer and President. “Natural resources are ultimately owned by the citizens of every country in which the resources industry operates. Beneficial ownership transparency is critical to ensuring the revenues generated by the natural resources industry provide maximum benefit to every single citizen. But to be successful it requires governments, industry and civil society to work together – which is why this initiative is so important.”

Thom Townsend, Executive Director of OO, said: “We are at a tipping point to move from commitments to the implementation of beneficial ownership transparency, and Opening Extractives will accelerate progress. Anonymous companies are the getaway vehicle of choice for stolen public money, and beneficial ownership transparency is the most effective way to close this down. The Luanda Leaks were a powerful reminder of how some resource-rich countries have suffered and how public information can thwart corrupt activity.”

Opening Extractives builds on the collaboration of OO and the EITI over the last three years in delivering workshops, training, and technical assistance in a broad range of countries.

“I am confident that this unique partnership is a recipe for delivering a step-change in natural resource governance,” said Mark Robinson, EITI Executive Director. “The project will seek to mobilise political and stakeholder commitment and build the technical capability required to publish and use complex data. It has the potential to scale beyond the extractive sector and beyond the program’s initial group of focus countries.”

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