Science Group Lauds Resignation of ExxonMobil Citizenship Board Member, Move Signals Growing Concern About Company’s Attacks on Nonprofits

Statement by Kathy Mulvey, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Feb 7, 2017

WASHINGTON (February 7, 2017)— Sarah Labowitz, who directs the New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, resigned Monday from ExxonMobil's External Citizenship Advisory Panel over ethical concerns about the company’s aggressive intimidation tactics to silence nonprofits and other groups who track the company’s historic and ongoing climate misinformation.

Recent investigations by UCSInsideClimate News and the LA Times, among others, have uncovered documents showing that ExxonMobil scientists knew about climate change and its global risks by the late 1970s and possibly even the 1960s, and instead of acting on that information, the company instead chose to wage a decades-long disinformation campaign to sow doubt about climate change. Since state attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts opened investigations last year into ExxonMobil’s conduct around climate, the company has pursued aggressive legal action to shut them down and has repeatedly attacked civil society organizations. 

Below is a statement by Kathy Mulvey, climate accountability campaign manager at UCS.

“It speaks volumes that a member of ExxonMobil’s own appointed board for corporate citizenship resigned because the company is such a bad corporate citizen. She clearly felt that trying to help the company from the inside wasn’t working, giving her no choice but to step down.

“All companies try to protect themselves, but Exxon’s recent attacks have crossed a line. Going after nonprofits and interfering with independent state investigations shows that ExxonMobil will stop at nothing to protect its bottom line. Ms. Labowitz took a bold stand against ExxonMobil’s climate deception and bullying. I commend her and urge other panel members to call out the company’s egregious behavior and do the same.”