Independent think tank InfluenceMap has released its Corporate Climate Policy Footprint Report, which ranks the 50 most influential companies and industry associations that are currently blocking climate policy action worldwide. While it was no surprise to see oil companies such as ExxonMobil and Chevron at the top of the report’s list, its third-ranked company was quite a surprise. Toyota was dubbed the world’s third-most obstructive organization for lobbying governments that set climate policies.
This effectively made Toyota the worst carmaker on the think tank’s list. But it wasn’t alone. Fellow veteran automakers that were also called out in the report included BMW, Daimler, and Hyundai. The report cited Toyota’s past initiatives to retain the internal combustion engine as one of the reasons behind the company’s ranking.
Toyota Motor has campaigned against proposed regulations globally to phase out internal combustion engines in favor of electric vehicles in 2020-21 and ranks 3rd on InfluenceMap’s list of global companies most negatively influencing Paris-aligned climate policy. It is joined by BMW (18th), Daimler (24th), and Hyundai (25th) from the automotive sector, which as a group is highly negative on stringent climate regulation on the automotive sector,” the report read.
In a statement to The Guardian, Ed Collins, a director at InfluenceMap, noted that the strategies adopted by companies that obstruct climate policies have evolved over time. “The corporate playbook for holding back climate policy has come a long way from science denialism, but it is every bit as damaging. What we are seeing is not limited to efforts to undermine regulations directly. It also involves prolific and highly sophisticated narrative capture techniques, leading governments down incredibly dangerous paths,” Collins said.
While Toyota’s rankings in the think tank’s report seems unfortunate, the carmaker has been called out for its lobbying tactics in the past. As per a New York Times report, the company lobbied congressional leaders to push back against the Biden administration’s efforts to accelerate the adoption of electric cars. Toyota’s lineup of vehicles has also been quite stagnant in their EPA figures, resulting in some of the company’s offerings being in the bottom tier of the country’s economy ratings.
Toyota’s executives have also demonstrated a reluctance to accept electric cars as the best course solution to make the transportation sector sustainable. Earlier this year, Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda claimed that Japan would run out of power in the summer if all cars were electric. Toyota has also shown a tendency to heavily lean into hybrids instead as well, with the company even adopting a questionable marketing initiative for its “self-charging hybrid” cars that actually just run on fossil fuels.
Read InfluenceMap’s Corporate Climate Policy Footprint Report below.