Finance & Trade Watch is a non-governmental organization based in Vienna, Austria.
Our operational focus lies on issues of political education, environment and human rights.
We work as a watchdog organization looking into specific human rights and environmental impacts in dominant trade and finance structures (both on the state and corporate level) and strive towards pushing for socially and ecologically more sustainable alternatives.
We actively engage in campaigning, educational and advocacy work. Moreover we see ourselves as a nodal-point for Austrian NGOs, bringing together the expertise of various civil society organizations and coordinating joint work on finance and trade related issues. At the same time we are part of a number of civil society networks ourselves, both in Austria and other countries in the global North and South.
Read more in German under Wirtschaft-Umwelt-Menschenrechte
Our advocacy activities include fullfilling our „watch“-function as an observer of the Austrian export financing system as well as questionable projects of Austrian companies. Since 2013 we have also been engaged in a lot of critical work on the „financialization of nature“: a process which leads to increasing power of financial markets on nature through the economic valuation of natural goods and services – often in the context of problematic climate and environmental protection strategies. This trend goes along with increases in land grabbing, privatization, human rights violations and environmentally harmful projects.
Read more in German under Finanzialisierung der Natur.
Since this dangerous development is closely linked with seemingly „green“ projects and climate change programs (including the development of a so-called „Green Economy“), the field of climate policy and criticism of false climate solutions (as well as drawing attention to real solutions) has become an important issue in our work. For this reason we started the Austrian initiative „System Change, not Climate Change!“ in collaboration with some of our partner organizations in 2015. Read more in German under Klima.
This initiative is now almost entirely run by unsalaried activists who decide as a group which climate issues they find most pressing and where they want to place their strongest attention. See their website: System Change, not Climate Change!