Greenpeace Australia Pacific takes Woodside to court alleging misleading climate claims

SYDNEY - Thursday 14 December 2023 - Greenpeace Australia Pacific has filed a lawsuit against fossil fuel giant Woodside in the Federal Court of Australia overnight. The case could see Woodside held to account for allegedly misleading and/or deceiving the Australian public about the enormous climate harm of its gas and oil projects.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific alleges that the fossil fuel giant has been misrepresenting its climate performance and plans. Greenpeace Australia Pacific, represented by the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), will claim that:

  • Woodside represented that it had cut the climate pollution from extracting and processing its gas and oil by 11% in 2022, but it had relied heavily on so-called “carbon offsets” – and its actual emissions went up by more than 3%.
  • Woodside represented that it had a plan to be ‘net zero’ by 2050, but it had neglected to mention that this didn’t apply to the emissions produced when its oil and gas gets burnt that represents over 90% of its climate pollution.

If successful, the Federal Court case could improve transparency of disclosure, forcing fossil fuel companies to be up front about the scope and impact of their business plans, not trying to bury the truth in the fineprint.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific is claiming that Woodside – Australia’s biggest climate threat – has engaged in conduct that was misleading or deceptive, or was likely to mislead or deceive, when making statements about its greenhouse gas emissions and reduction plans.

The case comes at the conclusion of global climate talks at COP28 and follows Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s recent scaling of a 140-metre crane next door to Woodside’s headquarters in Perth. Greenpeace activists condemned Woodside’s climate-wrecking proposed Burrup Hub project and called on decision-makers to “Stop Woodside”, ahead of an expected Federal Government decision in relation to the project in early 2024.

Comments attributable to Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO, David Ritter:

“Woodside is treating the Australian public and its shareholders like mugs.

“We’re now asking the Federal Court to rule that Woodside’s claims are misleading. These should be corrected and the fossil fuel giant should be prevented from making these claims.

“Greenpeace won’t stand idly by as Australia’s biggest climate threat – a company that is profiteering from climate devastation – buries the truth about its impact in the fine print.”

Comments attributable to Greenpeace Australia Pacific General Counsel, Katrina Bullock:

“Greenwashing is dangerous because it delays action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, undermines competition and potentially misleads investors.

“We believe Woodside’s statements are designed to make investors, governments and the general public think it is reducing its emissions, when in truth the company’s emissions are increasing.  

“It is clearly in the public interest to ensure big polluters such as Woodside are held to account for their allegedly misleading or deceptive conduct.”

Comments attributable to Greenpeace Australia Pacific Head of Climate and Energy, Jess Panegyres:

“This Federal Court case is a powerful opportunity to hold fossil fuel giant Woodside to account for misleading or deceiving shareholders, decision makers and the Australian public about its climate harm and how it plans to reduce that harm. 

“Woodside is Australia’s biggest climate threat and we believe they cannot be trusted.

“The question that Woodside must now answer before our courts is whether its climate claims actually stack up. 

“Going forward, shareholders, the public and the Federal Environment Minister should closely scrutinise Woodside’s plans and their so-called ‘climate credentials’.”

Notes:
Photos and videos of Greenpeace’s campaign against Woodside, including images of Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter, are available here.
Photos and video of today’s press conference will be made available here by 1pm AEDT.

Contacts:
For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact the Greenpeace Australia Pacific media team:

Lisa Wills 

Greenpeace Australia Pacific

0456 206 021

[email protected]

Kimberley Bernard

Greenpeace Australia Pacific

0407 581 404

[email protected]

 

Greenpeace Australia Pacific is a global independent campaigning organisation that uses peaceful protest and creative confrontation to expose environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.