We need tougher regulations to deal with global companies who dangerously go their own way

“If only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen” ran the slogan of one of VW’s most iconic ad campaigns. Last week’s revelations that VW deliberately and illegally cheated emissions tests will rightly do irreparable damage to a global brand that has traded off its reputation for quality and reliability.

The way this has played out on both sides of the Atlantic raises two critical and related questions about corporate accountability. First, VW is only the latest in a series of global corporates to be caught breaking the law, a sure sign that, even where regulations exist, they are often not fit for purpose. Second, VW’s law-breaking has highlighted the extent to which powerful industry lobbying has watered down European testing to the extent it can be manipulated without illegal action, and at terrible cost. Air pollution accounts for some 50,000 premature deaths a year in the UK – three times as many as liver disease. But in the face of corporate lobbying, EU and government efforts to address it have been utterly inadequate.

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Source: Guardian Environment