Agriculture giant Cargill Inc. is among four major Minnesota businesses that contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians who say climate change is a hoax or exaggerated, a new report from Minnesota Public Radio has found.
The contributions to climate change skeptics come despite the companies’ past claims of supporting climate initiatives. In 2015, Minnesota-based Cargill was part of a coalition of more than 150 companies that signed the Obama Administration’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge.
In addition to Cargill, the other companies that went against their pledges were Target, Best Buy and General Mills.
Combined, the companies’ contributions totaled about $300,000, according to the Minnesota Public Radio report. About 60 percent of Cargill’s Political Action Committee 2016 election cycle contributions went to climate deniers, all of whom were Republicans.
“We obviously live in a complex world where a number of issues matter and we have to take all of those into consideration simultaneously,” Chris Schraeder, director of sustainability communications at Cargill, said in a statement to MPR news. “Climate action is an important issue for us and that's one among many others that we take into account when evaluating political contributions.”
Companies that signed the pledge promised to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to climate action and set an example for their peers.
Cargill specifically pledged to improve both its greenhouse gas intensity and freshwater efficiency by 5 percent. The privately held company also pledged to increasing renewable energy to 18 percent of its total energy use.
Combined revenue from companies that signed the Climate Pledge totaled more than $1.3 trillion in 2014.