Will eBay Give Out ALEC Coal This Holiday Season?

The holiday season is big business for eBay, but this year, it's not just about shopping.

No, this holiday season, eBay is "reviewing" its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that's driven by Big Oil and Gas interests and advances its extreme, anti-climate agenda in state capitols nationwide. At ALEC's recent policy summit, state lawmakers met with fossil-fuel lobbyists in private meetings to plot how to derail new carbon pollution limits.

ALEC's so controversial that Google dropped them for "literally lying about climate change," according to Google Chair Eric Schmidt. This sparked an exodus of tech giants leaving ALEC, including Facebook, Yahoo!, AOL, and Yelp.

All of this begs the question: why is eBay the last tech giant still with ALEC?

With David Wenig — the new incoming CEO — taking over in 2015 (following eBay's split from PayPal), he and eBay have a chance to start fresh. Mr. Wenig need look no further than eBay's customer base for guidance on the question of whether to drop ALEC. In short, eBay's customers want ALEC dropped:

  • 74% of eBay customers would be "less likely" to use the auction site if they knew the company donated money to politicians and organizations that deny climate change science.
  • Longtime users of eBay are especially upset:

    My family has been buying and selling via eBay almost since the day you started the company and, among other things, have been able to put together a nice collection of family silver to pass on to our kids and grandkids... But I'm shocked to learn that you're still in bed with ALEC with its denial of climate change, something you know is fact, just as Galileo knew the earth revolved around the sun. Don't associate with fools who would destroy this planet with their ignorance... Dump ALEC..!!

    -Malcolm O. in New Hampshire

    I am a steady ebay user since 2001 and have always believed in their ethos of empowering buyers and sellers by enabling them to do business directly with each other. I was very surprised and disappointed to hear they support ALEC. It completely changes my idea of what they stand for. Ebay, stop supporting climate denial! Our future depends on it!

    -Julia S. in California

    I've been buying from eBay for nearly fifteen years. When my camera was stolen in Argentina, ebay was my source for replacing it within weeks. EBay provides
    a great resource, but when it stays the course with climate deniers, it tells its customer base their opinion is unimportant, an inadvertent and unfortunate message to send its loyal fanbase. Drop ALEC, respect your customers.

    -Peter B. in Virginia

    Sticking with ALEC in 2015 would be a dirty lump of coal for eBay customers who expect more the company. From support of renewable energy to being the only tech giant to join Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP), a forward-minded business group on climate, eBay's shown that its values do not mesh with a controversial group that opposes action on climate change.

    This holiday season, eBay's incoming CEO Devin Wenig can signal to customers, shareholders, and employees that eBay's commitment on climate is stronger than ever by dumping ALEC.