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Fresh Water Falling

(237 posts)
Sat Oct 14, 2023, 02:16 PM Oct 2023

Fear of reprisals prevent people calling out employers on climate, says charity [View all]

Source: The Guardian

Isabella Kaminski
Sat 14 Oct 2023 06.00 BST

Concerns about being fired or victimised at work are preventing people from calling out their employers on the climate crisis and the wider environment, according to a charity. A survey commissioned by Protect, a charity that defends whistleblowers, found fear of reprisals and uncertainty about how to provide proof were the main barriers to reporting on poor and misleading behaviour about the environment. Employees were also sceptical that their concerns would be properly dealt with.

The organisation started investigating after receiving a “surprisingly” low number of calls about the environment to its whistleblowing advice hotline. Of the handful who had contacted Protect about an environmental issue at work over the past decade, three-quarters said they faced negative treatment as a result.

Workers inside organisations can often be the first to spot environmental harms, from the illegal dumping of chemicals into a river to false claims about a product’s sustainability. Whistleblowers can make a difference by reporting those concerns. A gas company was fined after a whistleblower identified dangerous regulatory breaches while civil servants speaking anonymously to the press helped expose failures by England’s environmental regulator to prevent water pollution.

In Germany, Desiree Fixler lost her jobafter exposing corporate greenwashing at Deutsche Bank’s asset management arm DWS Group. But her actions led to several regulatory investigations and recently forced the company into a multibillion-dollar settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Workers are the eyes and ears of an organisation and are best placed to spot when things go wrong,” said Caitlín Comins, a legal officer at Protect. “With the right information, they can raise concerns and damage can be prevented, minimising the impact on the environment. By exposing environmental wrongdoing, they can also help ensure organisations are accountable for their climate impact and there is appropriate intervention where required.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/oct/14/fear-of-reprisals-prevent-people-calling-out-employers-on-climate-says-charity

Do we have such a whistleblower mechanism? Not a rhetorical question: I'd really like to know!
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