NAIROBI - European media regularly report on human rights violations by multinational companies 'from here'. Various Flemish media reported that a Flemish construction company would engage in forced labour in Qatar in preparation for the World Cup. Swedish journalists Tobias Åkerblom and Moa Kärnstrand revealed that a Swedish clothing brand would employ children aged 14 in Myanmar. However, multinationals born and raised in emerging economies are often forgotten.

"Decisions made by CEOs and Boards in Brussels or Stockholm worry the western public more than the choices made by managers in Nairobi or Seoul. Yet their choices have an impact on their lives too. "Aleydis Nissen researched this blind spot in the Kenyan flower industry and the South Korean electronics industry. 

Roses from Kenya: one plantation is not the other

The working conditions on flower plantations in Kenya regularly make the news. Dutch journalists report on everything that goes wrong there, from toxic chemicals to tax evasion. That is only normal. Most of the roses at the Dutch auction come from Kenya. Unfortunately, these news items only tell half the story. While Dutch and other European entrepreneurs are being hacked off, not a word is said about the Kenyan elite and Indian entrepreneurs - who control half of the companies. This navel-gazing is having disastrous consequences for a large proportion of the workers in Kenya.

Aleydis Nissen

Aleydis Nissen is a postdoc researcher at Leiden Law School
€ 4.000 toegekend op 4/07/2017.
Fonds Pascal Decroos