The US Chamber of Commerce, which represents the interests of over 3 million companies and spent $104 million on lobbying in 2016, has been less than willing acknowledge the role that humans, and businesses, play in climate change.
When the Chamber’s representative was asked whether climate change was real and caused by humans in a 2014 Senate hearing, she dodged the question until finally saying that it was “an ongoing discussion.”
Following president Donald Trump’s executive actions that would gut the Obama administration’s policies to curb global warming, the chamber’s president, Thomas Donohue, said, “These executive actions are a welcome departure from the previous administration’s strategy of making energy more expensive through costly, job-killing regulations that choked our economy.”
The Chamber’s stance on environmental protection is causing it to lose the support of several big companies. According to analysis by advocacy group Public Citizen, 13 of the world’s largest companies —Costco, eBay, Hewlett-Packard, General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, Mars, Mattel, Mondelēz, Nestlé, Starbucks, Unilever and Walgreens Boots Alliance—have quit the chamber in recent years over its policies, The Guardian reported.
While the Chamber does not disclose its membership, many of these companies confirmed that they were no longer members to The Guardian, without stating their reasons for leaving. (The lobby called Public Citizen’s report “inaccurate.”)
Other large companies have previously made public announcements of their decision to severe ties with the Chamber. In 2015, US pharmacy giant CVS quit over the lobby group’s efforts to ease restrictions on tobacco sales in countries around the globe. In 2013, construction firm Skanska left the chamber because of its stance on on green-building codes.
In 2009, Apple left the Chamber saying they “strongly object to the Chamber’s recent comments opposing the EPA’s effort to limit greenhouse gases.” That same year, utility companies Pacific Gas & Electric and Excelon left because of its stance on climate change. “We find it dismaying that the Chamber neglects the indisputable fact that a decisive majority of experts have said the data on global warming are compelling and point to a threat that cannot be ignored,” said Peter Darbee the PG&E chairman and chief executive.
And a coalition of left-wing pressure groups including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Public Citizen, and Action on Smoking and Health are calling on companies still in the lobbying group, such as Disney, Gap, and Pepsi, to quit and stop funding the Chamber’s efforts to fight climate-change legislation and anti-smoking legislation.