We have updated our list of oppressive regimes to reflect changes to political freedoms and oppression globally.
How do we use the list to rate companies?
Companies receive a rating in the Human Rights column on the score tables if they have operations in two or more countries on the oppressive regimes list.
For example, in our ethical shopping guide to dog food, Nestlé loses a whole mark under Human Rights for having operations in eighteen of these countries.
The rationale behind this is straightforward: companies benefit from the very conditions which contribute to oppression, such as harsh labour conditions, poor trade union rights, press repression, lax environmental regulations, and an economic environment conducive to corruption.
Furthermore, trading within oppressive regimes legitimises them to some extent, as well as helps make them financially viable. Oppressive regimes are supported by numerous economic ties, without which they would not survive. Foreign investment from international companies is a crucial element of this.