Greenwash Of The Week: BP -Not Exactly Beyond Petroleum.

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April 15, 2009

You know you have seen the ads on TV and in print for BP-Beyond Petroleum. It’s a catchy name, for sure, but it’s not really want it means. It actually means British Petroleum, as that’s what they are – an oil company. In fact, they are the third largest one! I have often wondered just how “green” this company is that claims to be “environmentally responsible with the aspiration of ”˜no damage to the environment’”, and in starting to look for answers I found out some pretty disturbing things. In a column for CorpWatch, researcher Kenny Bruno dissected the advertisement. “BP’s re-branding as the “Beyond Petroleum” company is perhaps the ultimate co-optation of environmentalists’ language and message. Even apart from the twisting of language, BP’s suggestion that producing more natural gas is somehow akin to global leadership is preposterous. Make that Beyond Preposterous,” he wrote.” And according to SourceWatch, BP’s business ethics were also challenged in June 2001, when it was revealed that both BP and Shell acknowledged that they hired a private intelligence company with close ties to the British spy agency, MI6, to collect information on campaigns by Greenpeace and the Body Shop. Nice company, huh? A few other items of note:

June 30, 2007 – Witnesses from Colombia’s social movements join together for a campaign to spread the word on how human rights and the environment are affected by oil corporations’ thirst for profits. BP operates Colombia’s second most productive oilfields and in 2006 they reaped profits of $347 million dollars.

December 5, 2007 – BP announced that it was moving into the Canadian tar sands by acquiring a half-share in the Sunrise field in Alberta operated by Husky Energy.

January 2001 – The benzene problem in Texas City was supposed to be addressed as part of the $650 million agreement BP reached with the EPA and the Justice Department covering eight refineries around the country. Yet environmental officials in Texas later found that benzene emissions at the plant remained high. BP refused to accept that finding and tried to stonewall the state, which later imposed a fine of $225,000.

In the past, BP even gave the National Wildlife Federation $113,000 to appear more eco-friendly, and being able to decorate its pumps with NWF posters for this price is an incredible marketing coup. It’s very sad when giant oil companies can get environmental orgs to sell there soul for a few bucks. If you cannot truly go green, then just try to buy your way in – Greenwashing at it’s finest. From CorpWatch – In an apparent effort to repair its image, BP has tried to associate itself with positive environmental initiatives. The company was, for instance, one of the primary sponsors of the big Good Jobs/Green Jobs conference held in Washington earlier this month. Yet as long as BP operates dirty facilities such as the Texas City refinery, the company’s sunburst logo, its purported earth-friendly values and its claim of going beyond petroleum will be nothing more than blatant greenwashing.

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