Greenwashing looms as VW appoints ex-EU Climate Commissioner Hedegaard

In an attempt to fix its public image, Dieselgate-shaken Volkswagen has named former EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard as a member of its new ‘Sustainability Council’. Reacting to the appointment, Corporate Europe Observatory’s climate campaigner Pascoe Sabido said:

”The Barroso and Kroes scandals are still red hot, but ex-EU Climate Commissioner Hedegaard’s new role advising Volkswagen will raise eyebrows as well.

“Volkswagen has confirmed to us that Hedegaard’s position on its new ‘Sustainability Council’ is unpaid. But it remains to be seen if Hedegaard will give Volkswagen some tough advice on cleaning up its act following the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal, and how she, as well as the other council members, will avoid being used for VW greenwashing.

“As the European branch of the company is still in denial about the deceitfulness of its illegal cheat devices, it is highly questionable whether Volkswagen is actually committed to making up for its previous foul play.”

Notes to Editors:

  • Volkswagen announced the set-up of its new ‘Sustainability Council’ in a press release. The company has confirmed to Corporate Europe Observatory that council members will only get expenses paid and will not receive any additional remuneration for their advice.

  • Connie Hedegaard held the position of European Commissioner for Climate Action between 2010-2014 in the Barroso-II Commission. She was responsible for regulating CO2 emissions from vehicles, and between July 2012 and April 2014 lead the EU’s 2020 review of CO2 limits for new passenger cars and vans.

  • In September 2015, Volkswagen was caught cheating on emission tests using defeat devices in its vehicles’ diesel engines. The company has been ruled to pay $14.7 billion dollars (13.28 billion €) to US authorities for buybacks, damages and penalties resulting from this ‘Dieselgate’ emissions scandal.

Contact details:

Theresa Crysmann | theresa@corporateeurope.org | +32 2893 0930