Tuesday, Feb 14th, 2017
ExxonMobil lost an advisor after she objected to its recent litigation tactics.Citing “targeted attacks” on environmental NGOs under former CEO Rex Tillerson’s leadership, a research scholar on business and human rights says she will no longer serve as an advisor with ExxonMobil.
Sarah Labowitz, who co-founded the New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights with Michael Posner in 2013, told the Huffington Post that the company’s response to public criticism pushed her cut to any ties with ExxonMobil.
In a letter sent to Ben Soraci, president of the Exxon Foundation, Labowitz said ExxonMobil’s litigation strategy “undermines the democratic principles of our society and the vital role that civil society plays in it.”
The highly public spat comes at a time when Exxon is responding to accusations that it covered up the work of some of its own scientists, who concluded over 30 years ago that the company’s operations were contributing to climate change risks. The controversy prompted some state attorneys general to launch investigations into the company, most notably the state justice departments of New York and Massachusetts.
The energy giant in turn responded with its own litigation, which ironically accuses the New York and Massachusetts attorneys general of leading “improper and politically motivated investigations of ExxonMobil in a coordinated effort to silence and intimidate one side of the public policy debate on how to address climate change.”
The company’s aggressive lawsuits have in part motivated one if its financial beneficiaries in the U.S. House of Representatives.