Greenwash risks illustrated by Volkswagen
While we consumers were aware of the continued launching of electric or hybrid cars or the fact that other cleaner technologies are implemented in hopes of improving the environment, US authorities uncovered the VW environmental fraud scandal.
I would not want that scandal to fade in the news, as their greenwash hypocrisy and how they benefitted while to be environment-friendly deserves our condemnation as consumers, through the great little power we have, by not buying their cars. With that, we would send the clear and strong message to the company and all the other companies.
VW says that “customers come first”, but they lied to these customers deliberately. They presented themselves as a protector of the environment, while contaminating their customers and also non-customer. Why would we have to believe them? They are even reluctant to collaborate with the authorities!
Besides, we can also see the losses that the company is facing, and we ask if that absurd risk is worthy to profit by doing the wrong thing. They will pay a high price for that if we think of the tens of billions of dollars that could have been used to develop truly greener cars. It is absolutely absurd!
The latest news is that the EIB, the European Investment Bank, has decided not to grant more loans to VW, since it is unable to rule out that a 2009 loan is not in any way related to the environmental fraud.
And in the US, a civil suit was filed by the Justice Department in Detroit federal court (Michigan), on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), accusing the German company of violating the US Clean Air Act. Although this is a civil suit, possible future criminal liability is not ruled out for those responsible for the scandal. The assistant attorney general for the Natural Resources Division and the Environment Department, John C. Cruden, wanted to make clear that this suit is a warning to other companies of the industry.
But there are still many questions to ask and we need to be attentive to all answers. For instance, will someone will go to jail for this? Or like many American executives, with their share of responsibility for the financial crisis, would go home “fired” with a letter of appreciation and a bonus of millions of dollars in their pockets?
Or we should ask where Europe (let us not even mention other countries) regulators and controllers were? And particularly German? Has anyone been punished for not complying with their work obligations?
If it were not for the so-criticized Americans, the rest of the world would “eat flies” while VW fraudulently profits, and while corrupt management such as FIFA’s (which everyone knew about), carry on undisturbed.
Let us hope that the governments notice the risk and take serious responsibility for controlling companies that are public and / or those that are typical or representative of their own country, whether VW in Germany, Petrobras in Brazil or Ancap in Uruguay.