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.
Follow Kevin Grandia on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kgrandia