The Global Reporting Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, has announced a C$2.5 million ($1.9 million) grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for a project that will bring together leading journalists, academic experts, and media organizations to investigate corruption in global supply chains.
The grant will enable GRC, which is based at the University of British Columbia, to launch "Hidden Costs," an initiative focused on investigating allegations of corruption, labor abuses, and hidden environmental impact in global supply chains. The seven-year project will culminate in a traveling exhibit staged in two shipping containers — built in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada — that will travel around North America to key hubs of global commerce.
Participants in the initiative include Martha Mendoza, who shared the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for her AP investigation of slavery in the seafood industry; three-time Pulitzer-winning reporter Walt Bogdanich, who has investigated railroad crossings, medical supply chains, and toxins in imported toothpaste; and Kwabena Koranteng, a Ghana-based journalist who has investigated illegal fishing, problems in cocoa processing, and mining in Africa. They and others will work with leading scholars as well as organizations such as Panjiva, which will provide customs and shipping data to help trace global supply chains; Double Helix, which maintains a genetic database of samples from protected forests and will provide testing of wood products; DigitalGlobe, which will provide high-resolution satellite images; and Google Newslab, which will help team members create tools that advance their research.
"What's so exciting about this project is that we can spend the time and resources necessary to get at the complex stories behind the products that surround us," said Peter Klein, who serves as the project's director and is a professor at the UBC School of Journalism. "We created the GRC to find new ways of doing journalism — and by bringing top scholars and reporters from around the world together into the newsroom, we have an opportunity to do journalism in a new way on this important topic."