About me

Maya04aI am an independent researcher, writer and advisor working on the business of sustainable development.

I have been involved in setting up, supporting and researching experiments aimed at reshaping the landscape for business: the relationship between financial regulation and green investment, sustainability reporting, social and environmental standards, socially responsible investment, consumer labels, multi-sector partnerships and public policies to mobilise private investment.

Organisations I have worked with include the Center for Global Development, The B Team, UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System, The Center for Global Development,  The Transparency and Accountability Initiative, Global Green Growth Initiative, Green Growth Global Forum (3GF), General Electric, Publish What You Fund, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, UNICEF, The South African Renewables Initiative, Project Catalyst and AccountAbility. I started my working life at the New Economics Foundation.  I have often worked, and continue to, as a associate of Simon Zadek.

Download my Full CV (pdf)

Stuff I used to work on

Should you want pictures of me they are here (Credit: Barney Cokeliss)

Why so much about tax?  I have followed the tax and corporate responsibility debates over recent years. This blog was not intended to be all-about-tax, but I have ended up writing a number of blog posts here on the topic to try to unpick some of the issues, and frequent misunderstandings which contribute to a fairly dysfunctional debate on the morality, ethics and development impacts of corporate tax issues (more on on my personal motivations here, and also here: ‘1 minute with Maya Forstater’ in Tax Journal).

Why so much about sex and gender? I am starting to write about sex and gender because it is a difficult topic that organisations working in development, human rights and for global social change, and progressive businesses need think clearly about.  I started out, thinking that inclusion must mean being open to people redefining gender and sex. But talking to many people and reading around, I have changed my mind and i think that the idea that a woman is ‘anyone who identifies as a woman’ is regressive, incoherent risks undermining women’s rights. It is critical for inclusion and equality to recognise that male and female sexes exist, that being a woman is a material reality based on biological sex, and that sexism and sex discrimination exist. Everyone’s human rights should be protected, but there are real legal, policy and equity questions about whether male bodied people should have access to women’s single sex services and women’s sports, and I believe that people should be able to talk about the issue.


Forstater, Maya (2018) Understanding illicit financing flows in a development financing context. Development Initiatives Factsheet.

Forstater, Maya (2018) Reading the Missing Profits of Nations. Tax Notes, Volume 160, Number 9. August 27, 2018.

Forstater, Maya (2018) Defining and Measuring Illicit Financial Flows, in Kahler, M (ed.) “Global Governance to Combat Illicit Financial Flows: Measurement, Evaluation, Innovation”. Council on Foreign Relations.

Forstater, Maya (2018) Why illicit financial flows and multinational tax avoidance are not the same thing. International Centre for Tax and Development

Forstater, Maya (2018) Illicit Financial Flows, Trade Misinvoicing, and Multinational Tax Avoidance: The Same or Different? Working Paper

Forstater, Maya (2018) Tax and Development: New Frontiers of Research and Action, CGD Policy Paper. (Also: Brief version)

Forstater, Maya (2017) Illicit Financial Flows and Trade Misinvoicing: Time to Reassess. Centre for Global Development.

Forstater, Maya (2017) How big is the transfer pricing prize for developing countries?, Tax Journal.

Forstater, Maya (2017) Are the big numbers on illicit financial flows misleading, and does it matter? in Lifting the Veil of Secrecy: Perspectives on Capital Flight from Africa (Eds Odd-Helge Fjeldstad,  Sigrid Klæboe Jacobsen, Peter Henriksen Ringstad and Honest Prosper Ngowi)

Forstater, Maya (2017) Beneficial openness? Weighing the costs and benefits of financial transparency, CMI Working Paper.

Forstater, Maya (2016) Illicit Financial Flows and Trade Misinvoicing: Are We Looking Under the Wrong Lamppost?, CMI Insights Briefing, Chr Michelson Institute, Bergen.

Forstater, Maya, Mark Halle and Simon Zadek (2016) Green Finance for Developing Countries: Needs, Concerns and Innovations. UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System.

Forstater, Maya (2015) Can Stopping ‘Tax Dodging’ by Multinational Enterprises Close the Gap in Development Finance?, Center for Global Development Policy Paper 69.

www.opengovguide.com (developer/ editor)

Zadek, Simon, Maya Forstater and Sharmala Naidoo (2012) Shaping a Sustainable Future: Exploring the role of development cooperation in delivering sustainable development , UN Development Cooperation Forum Background Paper.

Zadek, Simon, Maya Forstater and Kelly Yu (2012- Forthcoming) The Political Economy of Corporate Citizenship in China, Journal of Current Chinese Affairs.

Forstater, Maya (2012) A Commentary on Barriers and Drivers to Renewable Energy Investment in Sub- Saharan Africa, Journal Of Environmental Investing, Vol 2, No 1 (2011)

Zadek, Simon, Maya Forstater and Kelly Yu (2012) Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Economic Development in China: Implications for Business, US Chamber of Commerce, Washington DC.

Zadek, Simon, Maya Forstater, Fernanda Polacow (2012) Win-Win-Win ?: Trialing an Approach to Catalyzing Climate, Community and Economic Sustainability at the Core of the Amazon?, Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), Sao Paulo.

Forstater, Maya with Rachel Rank (2012), Towards Climate Finance Transparency, Publish What You Fund, London.

Zadek, Simon, Maya Forstater, Kelly Yu and Jon Kornik (2010), ICT and Low Carbon Development in China, Digital Energy Solutions Campaign, Beijing.

Zadek, Simon, Maya Forstater, Edwin Ritchkin, Saliem Fakir, Jon Kornik and Joerg Haas (2010) Unlocking South Africa’s Green Growth Potential: the South African Renewables Initiative , Department of Trade and Industry, Government of the Republic of South Africa, Pretoria.

Zadek, Simon, Edwin Ritchkin, Saliem Fakir, and Maya Forstater (2010) The South African Renewables Initiative: Advancing South Africa’s Low Carbon Industrial and Economic Strategy, Department of Trade and Industry, Government of the Republic of South Africa, Pretoria

Forstater, Maya, Simon Zadek, Yang Guang, Kelly Yu, Chen Xiaohong, Mark George (2010), Corporate Responsibility in African Development: Insights from an Emerging Dialogue, Institute of West Asian and African Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Working Paper 60, Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, Mass.

Zadek, Simon, Chen Xiaohong, Li Zhaoxi, Jia Tao, Zhou Yan, Li Guoqiang, Kelly Yu, Maya Forstater, Guy Morgan (2009) Responsible Business in Africa: Chinese Business Leaders’ Perspectives on Performance and Enhancement Opportunities Working Paper 54, Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, Mass.

Zadek, Simon, Maya Forstater, Fernanda Polacow and João Boffino (2009) Radical Simplicity in Designing National Climate Institutions: Lessons from the Amazon Fund, AccountAbility, London.

Forstater, Maya and Simon Zadek (2009) Low Carbon Growth Plans: Assessing Current Practice , European Climate Foundation and Project Catalyst, London.

Forstater, Maya, Simon Zadek and Saliem Huq (2009) The Business of Adaptation, AccountAbility, London.

WBCSD (2009) Mobility for Development  , WBCSD, Geneva (co-wrote with WBCSD Mobility working group team)

Rochlin, Steve, Simon Zadek and Maya Forstater (2008) Governing Collaboration: Making partnerships accountable for delivering development, AccountAbility, London. (with Rochlin and Zadek)

Response Project (2007) Understanding Corporate Responsibility – RESPONSE Project Executive Briefing Understanding Corporate Responsibility – RESPONSE Project Executive Briefing (2007) EABIS/INSEAD (with Maurizio Zollo)

Forstater, Maya and Jeanette Oleschagel (2007) What Assures Consumers on Climate Change, AccountAbility , London.

Zadek, Simon, Maya Forstater and Jeanette Oleschagel (2007) What Assures Consumers? (2007) AccountAbility, London.

Zadek, Simon, Chris Tuppen, Maya Forstater and Jeanette Oleschagel (2006) The Materiality Report: Aligning Strategy Performance and Reporting, AccountAbility, London.

Forstater, Maya and Thomas Krick (2005) Stakeholder engagment manual  UNEP, Paris.

Forstater, Maya and Paul Monaghan (2004), Issue Management Tool: Strategic challenges for business in the use of corporate responsibility codes, standards, and frameworks, WBCSD, Geneva.

Forstater, Maya and Peter Raynard (2002) Corporate Social Responsibility: Implications for Small and Medium Enterprises in Developing Countries, UNIDO, Vienna.

British Telecom and the Digital Divide (2003 & 2001), London, British Telecom (with Raynard and Zadek)

Forstater, Maya, Peter Raynard and Jaqui MacDonald (2002) Business and Poverty: Bridging the Gap, International Business Leaders Forum, London.

Zadek, Simon, Sanjiv Lingayah and Maya Forster (1999) Social Labels as Tools for Ethical Trade, The New Economics Foundation, London.

Zadek, Simon and Maya Forstater (1999) “Making Civil Regulation Work” (with M Forstater) in M Addo  (editor) (1999) Human Rights Standards and the Responsibility of Transnational Corporations, Kluwer,  Hague

Open Trading: Options for Effective Monitoring of Corporate Codes of Conduct. NEF/CIIR. London. 1997 (With Zadek and Burns).

You can find me here:


13 Responses to “About me”

  1. 1 Marie Grier

    Hi Maya, I found your site via your twitter page, I couldn’t join others to tweet #istandwithMaya, because I was banned for politely disagreeing with a political candidate and having the temerity to cite a source to back up my claim. Back on subject, thank you so very much for speaking truth to this insane presumption of power over. I’m a 60 yr old woman, a rape survivor and the mother of a daughter. I grew up when so much of society was championing women’s rights that it’s like a slap in the face. Your arguments are spot on, we have every right to express our concerns on the wider implications as well as to demand our privacy, safety and rights.

    • 2 Tirelessly Explaining Reality to Fools

      I completely agree with you. I am a bit younger than you but I grew up before everything for girls was compulsorily pink. All the female members of my family went to Greenham. We fought for women’s rights. We chanted ‘NO means NO’. We campaigned against section 28.

      We have the right to men free spaces. We have the right not to have to see penises when we go swimming or try on clothes. We have the right to date who we want to date, or not date at all. We have the right to be gender-free, and not fulfil sexist stereotypes.

  2. 3 Maya D Liar

    HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

    You lost, you stupid transphobic scumbag.

    You are a lying little toerag you. Not a fan of truthiness, eh? #MayatheLiar

    PS: JK Rowling is scum

    • 4 Tirelessly Explaining Reality to Fools

      J K Rowling rocks my world. Maya is fab.

  3. 5 Tirelessly Explaining Reality to Fools

    Thanks for standing up for women and girls. I was #peaktrans-ed two years ago when I was called transphobic for not considering a transman’s surgically created penis to be ‘real’. Since then I was horrified when a friend’s daughter, who had been groomed and raped from the age of 11, and who started to dress as male to put off the rapist, was given T by the Tavistock, without any kind of rape counselling or trauma therapy.

    Keep on fighting the good fight. And JKR is AWESOME!



  5. 7 Gill Gabel

    Thank you so much Maya. Why should women be punished for speaking a scientific fact – that humans who have XY chromosomes throughout their entire body are biologically males of yhe species homo sapiens and are sperm producers – while those who have XX chromosomes throughout their entire body are females of the species homo sapiens and are egg producers.

    This is a different isdue from the rigjts of those of either species to dress and act and call themselves whatever they like, and to have consensual xed with whom so ever they like.
    BUT they cannot ever BE a different sex.

    There are those few in number who are born with chromosomal irregularities – that is a medical problem totally unconnected with the issue you have been fighting.

    Thank you for what you have done for women’s rights.

  1. 1 Putting Privacy at the Heart of Open Government - Open Up?
  2. 2 OpenGovGuide: Putting Privacy at the Heart of Open Government | The Transparency and Accountability Initiative
  3. 3 CDG: Taxing Multinationals: Is There a Pot of Gold of Finance for Development? | The Transparency and Accountability Initiative
  4. 4 Maya Forstater: 5 faits rapides que vous devez savoir - Parc d'attraction - tous savoir
  5. 5 J.K. Rowlings' fallout with the so-called transgender movement is instructive - Bookworm Room
  6. 6 J.K. Rowlings' fallout with the so-called transgender movement is instructive - Watcher of Weasels

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