Last week, the National Whistleblower Center (NWC), as part of a coalition of anti-corruption groups, sent letters to all 27 countries in the European Union urging national parliaments to empower and protect climate whistleblowers as they work to meet the upcoming transposition deadline imposed by the 2019 Whistleblowing Directive.
As the letters note, climate change is the greatest current threat to global security. Indeed, its effects are already being felt in Europe and around the world. Whistleblowers who work in industries with a direct impact on the climate like fossil fuels, energy and transportation are in a unique position to report fraud and other wrongdoing.
However, history proves they often need strong protections in place before coming forward due to the very real threat of reprisal. That’s why it is so important to go beyond the protections mandated in the Directive, which include providing confidential channels to report violations, legal protections from retaliation, and compensation if they are victimized.
Each EU country should specifically include whistleblowing on violations of laws or policies related to climate change as protected activity as they pass national legislation. Furthermore, as climate change issues impact a wide spectrum of laws, rules, and regulations, which are constantly evolving, these parliaments must enact provisions that are flexible enough to cover this developing area.
“People have the most power to expose environmental crimes,” said Stephen Kohn, NWC’s board chair. “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.”
You can read the letters sent by NWC, Whistleblowing International, the European Center for Whistleblower Rights, and Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto here.