Toyota's Two-Faced Stance on Climate Change

Toyota's Two-Faced Stance on Climate Change
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As the old saying goes: “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” Or in the case of Toyota: “You can’t have your green and fight it too.”

With a well-earned reputation as a leader in the development of fuel efficient cars it boggles my mind that Toyota continues to be a supporter of the US Chamber of Commerce – an organization that is leading the charge against President Obama’s clean energy agenda.

Other big supporters of the Chamber of Commerce have been distancing themselves from the organization over their archaic standpoint on the issue of climate change.

Just today we saw Nike relinquish its membership on the US Chamber’s board, stating that:

“we fundamentally disagree with the US Chamber of Commerce on the issue of climate change and their recent action challenging the EPA is inconsistent with our view that climate change is an issue in need of urgent action.”

And over the last week two other high profile members have quit, including the largest US electric utility company, Exelon. In a press release, Exelon states that:

“Exelon is so committed to climate legislation that Rowe [Exelon’s CEO] announced during today’s speech that Exelon will not be renewing its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce due to the organization’s opposition to climate legislation.”

If an energy producer and a shoe company are willing to take such a strong stance, one would reason that Toyota, a company that heavily markets itself as a “sustainable mobility” company, would have led the exodus from the US Chamber. Instead we see all sorts of big green talk from the auto-giant, like:

“We support environmental programs that educate and mobilize people to reduce their environmental footprint.”

“At Toyota, our commitment to the environment goes beyond our products.”

“As an auto manufacturer, Toyota believes that “sustainable mobility” can be achieved through advanced technologies, key partnerships and creative people who are willing to take on this most important challenge.”

It goes on and on like this throughout Toyota’s website and I applaud them for putting their money where there mouth is on things like their Together Green program. But it all rings just a little too hollow when you know that at the same time they’re doing all this “green” work, they’re still a big backer of the US Chamber of Commerce who continues to be a major lobby against action on climate change.

At the least it seems to me to be financially backwards to fund one group that is advancing environmental causes while at the same time funding those opposed to those very same things. At the most, it makes me wonder whether all of Toyota’s “green” image in nothing more than a clever ruse.

If Toyota is genuinely committed to sustainability as they say they are, then they can can take their lead from Nike, Exelon and others and stop supporting the US Chamber and their attack on the Obama administration’s clean energy and climate change reforms. If they don’t leave the US Chamber, then we know where their motivations truly lie.

Toyota's Two-Faced Stance on Climate Change

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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