In action and ads, activists push consumers to question Toyota’s commitment to being “electrified”
LOS ANGELES – At the opening of the LA Auto Show, activists from Public Citizen today called on Toyota Motor Corp. to ramp up the company’s transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and to take major steps to clean up the company’s suppliers, dropping coal and embracing greener, more responsible supply chains.
“Toyota refuses to commit to a future with zero-emission vehicles as a centerpiece of its business, and on top of that has doubled down on deceptive, greenwashing marketing,” said East Peterson-Trujillo, senior clean vehicles campaigner with Public Citizen’s Climate Program. “While the company promotes its ‘electrified’ vehicles with only one electric vehicle on the market, Toyota’s fleet is based on burning fossil fuels–and the company has no plans to change that anytime soon.”
Activists, who were joined by members of the United Auto Workers, Jobs to Move America, and other allies, unfurled banners which read “Toyota: Stop Stalling, EVs are the Future,” and “Toyota: Drop Coal and Cut Ties to Forced Labor.” Further, activists provided leaflets to customers who test drove or spent time in the floor show cars, and pasted QR codes for further reading when scanned with attendees’ phones.
Despite having just a single electric car on the market in the U.S., Toyota launched its “Electrified Diversified” ad campaign in September 2023 promoting the company’s lineup of vehicles primarily powered by fossil fuels.
Ahead of the auto show, Public Citizen, along with partners at Mighty Earth, hosted a panel discussion on the auto industry’s EV transition, and the steps automakers must take to tackle their supply chains’ impact on workers, frontline and Indigenous communities, and the environment.
“As automakers bring more EVs to market, it’s crucial that they address the serious environmental and social harms throughout their supply chains,” said Erika Thi Patterson, auto supply chain director with Public Citizen’s Climate Program. “Pollution from coal-dependent supply chains are linked to respiratory illnesses and cancer for communities of color on the fence lines of these operations. Toyota in particular has a long road ahead to build out a supply chain that protects workers, communities, and the environment.”
In addition to the activists’ actions, Public Citizen made a five-figure ad buy, appealing to potential Toyota customers who attend the auto show highlighting Toyota as the #1 automaker with a negative impact on climate policy globally.
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