As globalization takes off, it’s not only governments that have the power to affect millions of lives. We expect to hold democratically elected officials accountable — but what about unelected bigwigs, CEOs, foundation heads, philanthropists, and NGO leaders?
Yesterday, London-based One World Trust unveiled its “2006 Global Accountability Report” at the Washington HQ of the World Bank. The report scored large international organizations (World Health Organization, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, etc.), corporations (Exxon-Mobil, Microsoft, etc.), and nonprofits (WWF International, Nature Conservancy, etc.) on how well they solicited and responded to public feedback, made decisions transparent, involved many stakeholders, and reacted to complaints.
Nonprofits, as a group, were tops in public participation. Big businesses had the best mechanisms in place to handle complaints. You can quibble with the particulars (“um, about that pipeline?”), but it’s an important idea.