Friends of the Earth International
groundWork (Friends of the Earth South Africa)


Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Pietermaritzburg, South Africa– 2 September 2016 – Globally every year up to $600 billion dollars of government tax revenue is lost through tax avoidance alone [1]. In a new report [2], launched today, Friends of the Earth International calculates that government revenue lost to tax havens over a 15-year period could power Africa, Latin America and much of Asia with 100% renewable energy.

The report comes ahead of the G20 leaders summit this weekend in China where the dual realities of climate change and tax avoidance should be at the top of the agenda.

Energy production from fossil fuels is one of the main contributors to sky-high levels of carbon emissions and tackling it is central to stopping a climate disaster. The practice of hiding profits abroad in tax havens, denies governments vast sums of money that could, and should, be used for social purposes, including to fund renewable energy.
Friends of the Earth International found that:

"This report is a wake up call for the G20 to stop talking and start acting. The finance to bring about an Energy Revolution exists, it is hidden in tax havens, but the political will to drive the transformation is shockingly absent.” says Sam Cossar-Gilbert of Friends of the Earth International. “Each year the climate crisis is getting worse. Without urgent action we will see greater hunger, drought, floods, and weather extremes, as well as mass extinctions and the forced migration of millions of people”, he adds.

“It is a gross injustice that the world’s richest multinational corporations and individuals do not pay their fair share of taxes and continue to pollute without limit. We must stop tax avoidance and use that money for building sustainable and just societies. An Energy Revolution is possible, but we must fight for it”, says Dipti Bhatnagar, Friends of the Earth International Climate Justice and Energy coordinator.

“Climate change is a symptom of our broken system. The energy transformation involves not just switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy, but also challenging the corporate power and greed that has led to this crisis,” she adds.

Friends of the Earth International believes that stopping tax avoidance and evasion gives an opportunity to increase public spending on public services - including community and socially controlled renewable energy. For this there is an urgent need for G20 and governments to end tax havens.

A 100% renewable energy revolution is financially well within reach. But leaders must demonstrate the political will to make it possible.


Sam Cossar-Gilbert
Program Coordinator Economic Justice - Resisting Neoliberalism Program, Friends of the Earth International (Australia)
Phone: (+33) 07 50 91 89 83

Dipti Bhatnagar
Climate Justice & Energy co-coordinator, Friends of the Earth International (Mozambique)
Phone: (+258) 84 03 56 599

Bobby Peek
Director, groundWork (South Africa)
Phone: (+27) 33 342 5662



[1] A. Crivelli, R. de Mooij and M. Keen (2015). Base Erosion, Profit Shifting and Developing Countries, IMF Working Paper 15/118. Download here.
[2] Download the FOEI report An Energy Revolution is Possible: Tax Havens and Financing Climate Action
[3] Pat Hearps, An Energy Revolution is Possible: Tax Havens and Financing Climate Action, Friends of the Earth International, 2016.

Friends of the Earth International is the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, uniting 74 national member groups and some 2 million members and supporters around the world. We challenge the current model of economic and corporate globalisation, and promote solutions that will help to create environmentally sustainable and socially just societies.

groundWork is an environmental justice organisation working with community people from around South Africa, and increasingly Southern Africa, on environmental justice and human rights issues focusing on Coal, Climate and Energy Justice, Waste and Environmental Health. groundWork is the South African member of Friends of the Earth International