Counter Information Services was set up in 1970. It was initially called 'Confront'
and the purpose of the organisation was to produce reports on British companies
which would expose the full facts of their operations and which could be used to
confront shareholders at the company's annual general meetings.
A number of activists were recruited to produce 'anti' company reports which would expose the shadow side of UK corporate activity and particularly their operations in apartheid South Africa.
The first public confrontation was in the City of London at the AGM of Rio Tinto Zinc (RTZ). At the meeting, the company's own Report was replaced by the Anti-Report and several resolutions
condemning the inhuman side of mining and damage to the environment
were proposed. The Board and shareholders erupted in anger.
The Financial Times gave full coverage to the protest and asked:
'Who are these people?'
36 Anti-Reports were published anonymously during the lifetime of CIS. It was founded by a city Investment Analyst and its core group of writers and journalists relied heavily on city sources for much of their research material. The identity of the editorial team always remained confidential. And despite its anti capitalist orientation it remained an independent and non aligned leftist organisation, with no affiliation to any political party or trade union or academic institution.
This independence made fundraising difficult. Unwilling to accept any kind of corporate sponsorship CIS successfully sought funding from wealthy individuals, the World Council of Churches, the Transnational Institute (TNI) and latterly the Rowntree Social Services Trust.
Origins of the CIS Anti-Report
Rio Tinto Zinc
Counter Information Services
The first Anti-Report Rio Tinto Zinc 1971
The first CIS Anti-Report