Tesla Motors is running into criticism for failing to report greenhouse gas emissions associated with its manufacturing operations, leading one fossil industry publication to speculate that the company isn’t as green as it seems.
More in-depth analysis shows that life cycle emissions from electric cars of all brands are significantly lower than from internal combustion vehicles. But Rigzone staff writer Matthew Veasey suggests Tesla is greenwashing its own operations, at just the point when the company faces concerns about workplace safety, its ability to reliably meet production targets, and a whistle-blower’s allegations about quality control for its Model 3 sedan.
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“Tesla is what we call a Watermelon—green on the outside, but red in the middle,” said Sam Gill, CEO of Engaged Tracking, which advises investors on companies’ carbon performance. “Our research suggests that Tesla’s best possible carbon performance contrasts markedly with its ‘zero emissions’ status.”
Compared to “older, ‘dirtier’ counterparts in the automobile industry”, Engaged Tracking states, Tesla fails to report its GHG emissions or list climate change as a “current business issue” in its business reporting. Citing the Engaged Tracking report, Veasey says Tesla’s emissions per unit production are 70% higher than Mercedes’ and 13 times higher than BMW’s, “even though BMW in 2017 produced 20 times more vehicles than Tesla.” [In fairness, that might be stated more accurately as because BMW produced 20 times more vehicles, to the extent that a much larger operation might be better able to control its emissions per unit.—Ed.]
Overall, “Tesla trails behind the more traditional carmakers when it comes to monitoring and managing ESG (environmental, social and governance)-related risks,” the Engaged Tracking report states. “Investors need robust, comparable data, and Tesla remains opaque.”