A coalition of anti-corruption and whistleblower advocacy groups have recommended that European governments should empower whistleblowers to expose crime and corruption harming the environment, in an attempt to slow down damage to our climate and ecosystems. A new European standard will soon require that all European Union (EU) countries update their whistleblower laws and statutes. The coalition encourages them to include provisions for climate and environmental whistleblowers.
Representatives from the The European Center for Whistleblower Rights, Whistleblowing International, The National Whistleblower Center, and whistleblower law firm Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto sent letters to officials and legislators in every country in the EU to support their position. The letters asked officials to consider the dangers of climate change and the potential support that whistleblowers could provide as governments grapple with this international problem.
“People have the most power to expose environmental crimes, but they need strong assurances they can report violations without losing their jobs and their careers. If any type of whistleblower needs and deserves first-class protections, it is the climate whistleblower.” said Stephen M. Kohn, Chair of the National Whistleblower Center.
Mark Worth, Executive Director of The European Center for Whistleblower Rights, said that “Climate change is our most serious problem, and citizens are our more effective problem-solvers. If people who have inside information about climate threats aren’t able to reveal it, we will lose our best chance to save the planet from further harm.”
The coalition worries that people who have first hand knowledge of environmental crimes or pollution fraud may not be able to safely step forward and reveal their information if environmental whistleblowers are not included when EU countries update their regulations. Strengthening whistleblower protections has proven very effective in the U.S., with over two thirds of 2020 False Claims Act recoveries coming from qui tam relators, otherwise known as whistleblowers.