A coalition of groups concerned about the environmental and social harm multinational coal mining company Glencore is inflicting in Australia have taken aim at the company’s misleading climate claims.
The Environmental Defenders Office, on behalf of The Plains Clan of the Wonnarua People (PCWP), Comms Declare and Lock the Gate Alliance, has lodged a complaint (available here) with ACCC and ASIC against Glencore’s misleading claims on climate impact and its behaviour towards Traditional Owners under the Corporations Act 2001.
Despite Glencore publicly claiming to have decarbonisation plans in place, the EDO’s legal review of the company’s activities in Australia has found no evidence to support such claims. In fact, Glencore’s ongoing attempts to expand its Australian coal mines suggests the opposite to be true.
The EDO has separately lodged complaints on behalf of Lock the Gate Alliance and PCWP with the Advertising Standards Board in Australia, raising concerns about apparent breaches of the Environmental Claims Code and Australian Association of National Advertisers Code of Ethics.
Lock the Gate Alliance National Coordinator Carmel Flint said, “Climate change is one of the key challenges of our time and with it has come a fundamental shift in global policy and public sentiment against the use of fossil fuels.
“It has also led to efforts by companies with climate wrecking business models to downplay their contribution to polluting emissions with spin. It’s what we’re seeing here in this case with Glencore.
“Despite claiming to have decarbonisation plans in place to meet climate targets, a legal review of the company’s activities in Australia has found no evidence to support such claims. In fact, Glencore has active plans to dramatically expand its Australian coal mining operations and keep digging for decades to come.”
Plains Clan of the Wonnarua spokesperson Robert Lester said he had experienced first hand how Glencore treated Traditional Owners with contempt when they dared to stand in the way of its mining projects.
Last year, Glencore paid for advertising in a Hunter Valley newspaper in which it launched a scathing personal attack on Mr Lester and fellow Plains Clan member Scott Franks, who are attempting to stop Glencore’s Glendell coal mine expansion.
“Glencore’s behaviour towards Traditional Owners at its mines is anything but respectful,” Mr Lester said.
“Glencore has personally attacked me and Scott - all because we dared defy this mining giant and demand that our Country and Cultural Heritage be saved from its damaging coal mine.
“It is part of Aboriginal lore that everyone, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, should work together to ensure that we look after the land for future generations to come.”
Comms Declare Founder, Belinda Noble said, “Glencore has launched its first brand campaign ‘Advancing Everyday Life’, misleading the public that it is environmentally focussed when, in fact, it is the world’s largest coal exporter.
“Since June it has spent more than $84,000 alone on Australian Facebook ads, most of which show EVs, wind turbines and forests and don’t even mention coal.”
If Glencore is found to have violated the Corporations Act 2001 and/or Australian Consumer Law, as alleged, the company could face enforcement action.