"The actions of Elsevier/RELX, in light of UN human rights guidelines and climate justice principles, warrant careful public consideration. We encourage the company to attentively listen to the concerns of those impacted by climate change and acknowledge the potential risks associated with its ongoing engagement in fossil fuels to safeguard its broader business interests.”
—Myron Mendes, The Indian Network on Ethics and Climate Change
(CRC partner organization)
On 15 July 2021, an Elsevier editor gave a presentation to employees, detailing that "if we wait for 10 more years when we get through this [carbon] budget we basically have to decarbonize overnight, which is impossible...All of the oil reserves that these companies have, have to stay in the ground. They can’t take them out of the ground. That’s globally, legally binding, the Paris Agreement.” At an Elsevier sustainability event later that year, a speaker told employees that a livable planet was dependent on the end of fossil fuel expansion. This is activity that Elsevier continues to support, despite obligations to avoid human rights impacts associated with the business.
What we’re seeing is fossil fuel enablers promoting efficiency in new projects as sustainability and identifying a support for renewable projects as being indicative of their participation in the industry’s supposed transition. What this rhetoric does is help Elsevier's oil major partners and customers maintain their social license to operate while the industry simultaneously disregards the requirement to decrease production now to make it possible to mitigate future climate and human rights harms. Making new fossil fuel projects more profitable for companies that are disregarding the negative impacts they cause to people and the planet will most likely ensure any transition is one that leads to a deeply unstable future.
A primary aim of Climate Rights Coalition and this grievance mechanism is to give a voice to people being more directly impacted by these business decisions, with the hope to generate more substantive commitments that employees and scientists have been unable to secure. Per UNGP grievance mechanism guidelines, we hope Elsevier will “participate in effective operational-level grievance mechanisms that can remediate climate and environmental concerns raised by affected persons” and to “participate in good faith, and not undermine, proceedings before legal or non-legal tribunals that promote accountability for climate harms,” with “all those seeking to access or interact with grievance mechanisms…able to do so without fear of reprisal."
Please reach out if you, your organization, institution, or community care to engage in this process.
—Revealed: leading climate research publisher helps fuel oil and gas drilling, The Guardian, February 2022
—UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, 4 April 2022
—Cell Press editor, 15 July 2022, Customer Connections presentation
Climate Rights Coalition is an organization that seeks to bring together groups, organizations, and individuals who have an interest in generating accountability for those that would continue to promote new fossil fuel projects after 2021, a point at which such activity was determined by the global community to carry a high risk of human rights harms.