Which Corporations Just Pretend to Support Environmental Progress?

In an age where Americans are growing wary of corporate control of the government, corporations have started putting more effort into appearing like they have a conscience. This strategy is especially true when it comes to environmental causes – it’s now popular for companies to say that they are willing to take a stand for the health of the planet.

Alas, there’s a distinction that needs to be made between publicly aligning with the environmental movement and actually aligning with it behind the scenes. As Reuters reports, there are a number of major companies who have claimed to go green while still giving millions to super PACs and candidates who deny climate change.

To suss out the hypocrites, Reuters examined the 30 most profitable corporations that signed on to President Barack Obama’s “American Business Act on Climate Change Pledge” last year. Their reporters then looked at FEC data to see what kinds of donations have been made by these companies in 2016 to politicians who are well known for standing in opposition to Obama’s climate policies.

The results of the research are disheartening. Out of the top 30 companies, 25 have continued to give money to politicians who proudly wear the label of climate change deniers.

So far, the worst offender is chemical corporation DuPont, which gave $40,000 to anti-environment legislators, accounting for 65 percent of the company’s political contributions. Beverage giant PepsiCo has donated roughly half of its political money, or $56,500, to similar climate unfriendly candidates and PACs.

Other companies that deserve to be called out for their shady, anti-green donations include AT&T (43%), Google (40%), GE (36%) and Verizon (36%). Granted, these companies are giving more to candidates who are not considered climate change deniers, but that’s still a lot of dough that runs counter to the pledge they signed.

Look, giving money to candidates in both parties is hardly a new tactic – it’s how corporations hedge their bets and maintain influence regardless of who is elected. At the same time, what kind of environmental ally writes fat checks to candidates who vocally oppose environmental progress?

A year ago when lots of big-name corporations signed on to Obama’s climate pledge, I asked whether or not we should be impressed. It seemed to me that the corporations, which are known to be the driving force behind climate change, were more interested in receiving some positive press than actually committing to anything that would impact their bottom lines.

It’s worth repeating that corporations have a lot of influence over our politicians. If they were sincere about wanting to address climate change, they probably could use their power of persuasion (read: money) to get politicians to act accordingly. That does not appear to be a chief goal for most companies, however.

Corporations: put your money where your mouth is. It’s not fair to publicly pledge to stand up for the environment while secretly donating thousands of dollars to the candidates that you know darn well are intent on doing the opposite.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

86 comments

Philippa Powers
Philippa Powersabout a year ago

Thanks.

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Grace Adams
Grace Adamsabout a year ago

To be kind, maybe they want at least two sides or better many sides to debate on every issue more than they want either climate stability or climate change. Not everyone cares about the same assortment of issues.

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Melania Padilla
Melania Pabout a year ago

Shared

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Marie W.
Marie Wabout a year ago

Grenwashing.

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Christina M.
Christina Mabout a year ago

no surprise

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renee lusian
renee lusianabout a year ago

Good to know.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiranabout a year ago

noted

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Jennifer H.
Jennifer Habout a year ago

Expected from Dupont. Disappointed in Pepsico.

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Marie P.
Marie Pabout a year ago

Shocking but not surprising :(

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