News Of Peabody Energy Exploiting Ebola Crisis Sparks Criticism

News Of Peabody Energy Exploiting Ebola Crisis Sparks Criticism
IOM Ebola treatment unit in Grand Cape Mount, Liberia UNMEER / Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0
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Peabody Energy is accused of using the Ebola crisis for their corporate use, according to public health experts. In one of their promotional campaign for a product, Peabody said that if coal energy was spread properly, it could have fought the virus better, and the vaccine could be distributed properly.


It is to be noted that according to the World Health Organization, nearly 27,000 people were affected with the virus last year, killing 11,000. The number can be more, because many believe that cases were not reported properly. Africa was hit the hardest.

There are two points that are coming up from the critics. First of all, there is no such approved vaccine for Ebola that can stop the disease, and second, using the outbreak for advertising a company product is a ludicrous, opportunistic and insulting attempt made by the company.

Peabody Energy is the largest privately owned coal company in the world, and Chief Executive Greg Boyce included a slide on Ebola in his presentation back in September. He cited the example of University of Pennsylvania infectious disease expert.

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According to Salon, Irwin Redlener, director of Columbia University’s National Centre for Disaster Preparedness, said, “There is no apparent merit or evidence to support such a thesis.” He is an advisor to the White House on the U.S. response to Ebola.

Irwin also said, “Peabody has very specific and explicit corporate goals. I think this is a pretty farfetched leap from a global crisis to try to justify the existence of a company that is interested in producing and selling coal.” He also added, “I think it’s an opportunistic attempt and somewhat desperate to relate corporate self-interest to a massive public health crisis.”

The Guardian reported Skip Burkle as saying that Peabody’s claim was “absolutely ludicrous.”

He said, “We are talking about public health infrastructure… energy is just one piece of it. There are so many other factors that have to come together.”

Vic Svec, senior vice-president for global investor and corporate relations of Peabody,  said, “Mr Boyce was simply noting that a lack of electricity dramatically impaired the ability to fight Ebola in key nations that have little energy access and where hospitals rely on generators for power.”