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Old 03-28-2011, 09:39 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2008
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BP's Post-Spill CSR Report Long on Rhetoric, Short on Goals

Reading any oil and gas company sustainability report is an exercise in parsing carefully bland wording -- "responding to stakeholder concerns," "extracting resources responsibly," and so on -- but never more so than in reading BP's 2010 Sustainability Review.

In the company's first CSR report since the catastrophic Gulf oil spill nearly one year ago, BP has, perhaps to its credit, put the issue front and center. The report's cover consists of a photo from the spill, and the first third of the 50-page report focuses on the disaster and BP's response.

Despite all the ink given to the spill throughout the report, you could make the argument that BP is trying to start over, inasmuch as a global energy conglomerate can start fresh.

Among the most notable elements of the report is that there are essentially zero goals for future performance listed. Sure, BP says it plans to invest an additional $1 billion in "low-carbon energy markets" in 2011, but when you get to the alternative energy section, you only find that statement repeated, with no hard goals or even suggestions as to where they will invest that money.

The report offers a broad overview of the benefits of biofuels, wind and solar, but it seems likely that BP will plug a good chunk of that commitment into natural gas extraction, given its prominence in the report's section on "meeting the energy challenge."

There is one chart that, for me at least, really lays out the gist of the report. A small version is below, you can click on the image for the full-sized version.

What you see there is "BP in Figures," and the numbers in the shaded green box show figures that do not include the Deepwater Horizon spill. So these numbers represent a fork in the road, an alternative future as if the spill hadn't happened.

And the picture isn't that pretty: Even without Deepwater, the number and volume of oil spills were on the rise in 2010, and direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions were holding steady after climbing since 2006.

BP's Post-Spill CSR Report Long on Rhetoric, Short on Goals | Business | GreenBiz.com
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