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Daily News Blog

18
May

Beyond Pesticides Lawsuit Challenges Exxon for Deceptive Claims of Significant Investments in Solving the Climate Crisis, Cites Petrochemical Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, May 18, 2020) On May 15, 2020, Beyond Pesticides sued Exxon Mobil Corporation (Exxon) for “false and deceptive marketing,” misrepresenting to consumers that it “has invested significantly in the production and use of “clean” energy and environmentally beneficial technology.” The truth, according to the complaint (Beyond Pesticides v. Exxon Mobil Corporation) filed in DC Superior Court, is that the vast majority of Exxon’s business continues to be in the production and use of petroleum, natural gas, and petrochemicals, including pesticides. These activities are significant contributors to the climate crisis and the decline of pollinators and biodiversity, threatening the viability of biological systems that sustain life, according to Beyond Pesticides.

“ExxonMobil’s advertising and marketing mislead the public by presenting ExxonMobil’s clean energy activities as a significant proportion of its overall business,” according the lawsuit. In an age where consumers are looking to support responsible companies that are supporting and transitioning away from fossil fuel-based energy and chemical products, “ExxonMobil is able to capture the growing market of consumers,” according to the complaint.

Surveys have found that consumers are more likely to buy products and services based on corporate image. For example, a 2015 Nielsen survey finds that the majority of consumers are more likely to buy products and services from companies “known for” being environmentally friendly or committed to social value.

“We cannot afford to be misled by corporations that are tinkering with solutions to the environmental crises of climate change and biodiversity devastation, which threaten our future over an ever-shortening time horizon,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “Overselling half-hearted attempts to solve these environmental crises head-on is doing dramatic damage to the large scale and meaningful changes that must take place now,” Mr. Feldman continued.

Beyond Pesticides is working with consumers, farmers, landscapers, and communities across the country and worldwide to expedite a transition to organic land management practices (defined under the Organic Foods Production Act), eliminating petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers, which release human-caused carbon into the atmosphere and are destructive of soil biology and organic matter, nutrient cycling, and carbon sequestration. Drawing down carbon from the atmosphere into the soil (sequestration) on a massive scale is critical to a holistic strategy for reversing the climate crisis—which is feasible with regenerative organic systems that could, if universally adopted, capture more than 100 percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Exxon espouses a “commitment to develop new resources to ensure the world has the energy it needs while also minimizing the environmental impacts, including the risks associated with greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.”

Exxon has invested heavily in its image as a “clean” and “green” company with advertising on its leadership on carbon capture and storage technology to the tune of 1.8 billion advertising impressions for this one campaign. Yet, according to the complaint, “Since 2000, ExxonMobil’s capital expenditures total well over $465 billion. Thus, the $9 billion in environmentally beneficial investments touted by ExxonMobil demonstrate that no more than 2% of ExxonMobil’s capital expenditures in the past 20 years was invested in lower-emission solutions, carbon capture and storage technology, biofuels, cogeneration, and more efficient manufacturing processes, combined.”

“Deceiving the public into believing that one of the largest petroleum companies in the world is committed to solving the climate crisis, while it continues to devastate the planet, is dangerous and inexcusable, especially given what’s at stake,” said Mr. Feldman. “This is especially problematic, given that real solutions to the climate crisis and biodiversity destruction are within our reach if not slowed by deceptive practices of Exxon and other powerful corporations,” Mr. Feldman continued.

“The coronavirus pandemic challenges us to think differently and act urgently to prioritize the importance of science in government and corporate decision making, take the necessary steps to avert looming crises that affect public health and the environment, and hold companies accountable to practices that protect life,” said Mr. Feldman. Beyond Pesticides advocates for the adoption of organic land management, a systems approach that eliminates toxic petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers and builds organic matter and soil biology as a means of cycling nutrients for plant health, sequestering carbon on a massive scale, and protecting biodiversity. Organic methods are successfully and economically used in managing agriculture, lawns, parks, and playing fields across the country.

Exxon’s false and misleading representations and omissions violate the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act (“DC CPPA”), D.C. Code§§ 28-3901, et seq., according to the complaint filed on Friday. Beyond Pesticides is represented by the Richman Law Group, headquartered in New York City.

See Beyond Pesticides v. Exxon Mobil Corporation.
Source: Beyond Pesticides

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  • Archives

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