According to Greenpeace, despite the green image Volkswagen likes to portray, VW is at the heart of a group of companies lobbying against new laws which Greenpeace sees as need to cut CO2 emissions, reduce mankind’s oil use, and protect places like the Arctic from climate change.
Recently, Greenpeace disrupted a worldwide dealer launch of the VW Up! The Up! is a vehicle that produces 79 – 108 grams of CO2 per kilometer and has a fuel rating of 56 miles per gallon (mpg). By most standards the VW Up! seems like quit the fuel efficient car especially when compared to other vehicle makes by other auto companies .
Greenpeace makes the following claim:
“For every ‘greener’ vehicle VW sells, there are around 15 others which emit much more C02. Volkswagen adds a huge price mark-up for its greener vehicles – way above the cost of the technology – as it tries to cash in on your green conscience.”
This might be true, as greener cars do tend to cost more, but when one compares VW’s product line with the product lines of other auto makers VW stands out a company that is truly pushing the limits of green technology. The big question is why Greenpeace is targeting VW when there are much more egregious offenders out there in auto building world? Well, besides for the awesome ad campaign potentials of course.
Greenpeace has faced plenty of criticism for its actions before, largely for misrepresenting facts about the toxicity of components in everything from cars to computers. The organization has even been accused of being a corporate lackey whose only agenda is to get paid. And many of the original founders of the group have left the organization, saying that it lost its way.
The Greenpeace protest of VW is taking place in Europe – admittedly a part of the world that is a bit more eco mindful than the United States. According to Greenpeace:
“Right now, politicians across Europe are debating whether to raise our target for CO2 cuts from 20 to 30 per cent (based on 1990 levels) by 2020. It’s such a necessary increase that many people and organizations – from the UK government to Google, from Ikea to Unilever – agree that we should do it.
But not Volkswagen – and it gets worse.
Along with spending millions on groups lobbying against the 30 per cent target, VW is also opposing new fuel efficiency targets. These would cut CO2 emissions, save drivers money and reduce our dependence on oil.
It’s that dependence that drives oil drillers to the Arctic, where companies routinely use giant water cannons to break up icebergs in the way of their operations.
But all is not lost. We feel the good in Volkswagen. They have the engineers and the technology to make some of the most efficient vehicles on Earth.
But their bosses have been seduced by the Dark Side and are employing henchmen to lobby against the strong emissions cuts that we need. The time has come when we have no choice but to raise a rebellion to confront them.”
Corporate greed is a huge global problem, we all know this, but to place the bulk of the blame on VW in this style just does not sit right. VW is far down on the list of makers of inefficient cars, and Volkswagen’s lineup actually includes some of the cleanest, most fuel-efficient cars in the world. Of course, Volkswagen is also the most prevalent carmaker in Europe, and the accusations that it is holding back progress on emissions targets to save money are not without merit either. Any campaign that puts the planet first is good, but in the realm of inefficient auto makers there are much bigger fish to fry than VW. Even Greenpeace’s own report points out that there are several companies that have done worse in terms of meeting emissions requirements. Maybe Volkswagen should just send them a check in hopes that they go away…
We suggest you make up your own mind about this though. Here is Greenpeace’s argument against Volkswagen. Decide for yourself; is Greenpeace on target? Or is this a swing and a miss?
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail.