Ethical Practices Within Business
BP Struggles to Resolve Sustainability Disaster
Over the past 20th century and in the 21st century, ethics has neither been an option nor a luxury. It has not only become a moral or legal responsibility, but has also been an organizational priority within all sets of work groups, including both public and private institutions, organizations and companies. Ethical practices have also become the only strategy to combat the growing impatience within the society, as well as their responsible competitions and/or actions. These ill and unethical acts may in the long run impoverish a section of the regional economy through various organizations while enriching the crafty economies. Organizational leaders must thereby keep abreast of the rapidly changing technological advancements together with their possible effects on globalization, competitor products and services, opportunities, and threats that their organizations may face. Over a century, BP, the formerly Anglo-Persian Oil Company and British Petroleum Company, has confronted lots of ups and downs in its operations (Carl 342). Regarding the problematic business operations, workers’ hazards, emission of the greenhouse gases, and environmental damages, BP has been confronted by a number of controversial challenges, which in many cases required positive and ethical response. This paper attempts to analyze how positively and/or ethically the BP has acted in response to combat its previous and possible challenges in the future.
Regarding the subsequent challenges that faced the BP over the past years, including the hazardous explosions, oil pipeline leakages, and other forms of transportation spillages, the company has attempted to involve in various ethical practices that can help it re-structure and repair its tattered image. Over some time, BP has been striving to re-position itself and brand itself a new image of being an environmentally friendly organization via making various investments in ethical initiatives and renewable energy systems. According to Carl, BP was the first oil company to realize the existence of global warming, and thereby launching an initiative focusing on the possible clean forms of energy (346). Moreover, the company changed its name into BP and later attempted to re-brand itself as “Beyond Petroleum” from the formerly famous British Petroleum. This attempt aimed at automatically sending signals to the company’s stakeholders about its new focus on environmental friendly activities, sustainability and the need for moving beyond the non-renewable sources of energy.
According to the research conclusion made by investigative teams, which were set to analyze the root cause of the horrible leakage and/or spillage, BP’s cooperation with the Transocean contractor “Halliburton” could have had an upper hand in spillage disasters. The contractors could have used short procedures during which, the final steps in the pipe installations could have been compromised to cut-off some costs of construction. This act was irresponsible and could have catalyzed the explosion and spillages (Carl 345). After a few decades of repeated ethical misconducts and environmental violations by some sectors within the oil industry, the stakeholders became so weary of the oil companies during the commencement of the twenty-first century. For instance, the rising gas prices, toxic emissions, oil leaks, the dwindling petroleum supplies, and diverse forms of environmental pollutions from some oil companies, converges to create and paint a very horrible image of the entire oil industry. Subsequently, a vital topic arose within the world debates concerning the world’s future energy supply, focusing on the greenhouse gas emissions and the global warming effects. BP has made various attempts towards repairing its shabby image and reforming the generalized public perception that the entire petroleum industry is irresponsible and involves unethical practices, which violates the societal and environmental rules. Partially, BP responded to these concerns by changing its identity from British Petroleum into a simple name- BP, and advanced it alternative energy offerings within its mix of products.
Upon the BP’s realization of its ethical obligations in conserving the environment, the BP’s leaders proclaimed ethical and environmental concern, which stated that all people are citizens of the world and that everyone has an obligation to share the responsibility of conserving the world’s accessible resources by encouraging its sustainable developments. Furthermore, BP became the world’s first energy firm to disclose the public recognition of the possible climatic changes (Carl, 346). As a result, even though its primary product is petroleum, BP finally accepted that global warming is a human-made phenomenon and begun to seek and exploit the alternative revenue torrents, such as establishing wind firms and other energy sources with lower emissions. This confirmed the company’s reformed culture and its ethical concern about its environment and the enclosing societies; hence the company vested approximately $4 billion for those alternative energy plans, and endeavors to double this amount by 2015.
In order to adapt and show its flexibility the world’s changing needs for ethical practices and environmental conservation, BP launched an alternative energy business by 2005. As a result, BP considers itself “going green,” not only by expanding its alternative energy sources, but also to contribute to the world’s environmental conservation programs and other ethical practices. This can re-create a new image for the BP and convince the public about its ethical conducts. To prove its ethical efforts, BP established two of the world’s largest solar power firms in Spain. This project was estimated to supply energy to approximately a million homes. Additionally, BP proceeded to demonstrate its worldwide effort to diminish the rate and amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
Carl elicits that, to push deep into the sector of alternative energy production, BP formed a special-purpose entity with the Verenium Corporation, which is the leading producer of cellulosic ethanol (349). This is a renewable fuel produced from non-edible plant parts and grasses. BP believes that with the progressive advancements in technology, the production of cellulosic ethanol will lower the environmental impacts caused by the non-renewable fuel resources. In 2010, BP responded to the Deep-water Horizon spill by buying the Verenium Corp.’s cellulosic biofuel business for $98.2 million. The CEO of BP biofuels thereby pronounced that BP will remain dedicated to being the leading cellulosic biofuel company, which will involve in ethical, safe and environmental friendly activities.
In order to deal with the BP’s public reputation of ethical misconduct during the commencement of the twenty first century, the BP’s team of ethics and compliance organized the establishment, publication and circulation of the company’s code of conduct by 2005. The BP’s code of conduct titled Our Commitment to Integrity was distributed to all its employees and globally. As well, the company’s code of conduct is accessible at the company’s website. I thereby affirm this to be the company’s strategy and effort towards re-structuring its ethical image since this publication will conform all BP’s employees to the company’s ethical set of standards (Carl 348). To help the employees understand the contents of its code of conduct, the company holds a number of awareness meetings and programs. These standards aim at improving the company’s performance and success without negatively impacting both the society and the enclosing environment.
In its ethical conduct endeavors, BP implemented various environmental awareness programs within Britain, which serve to help its stakeholders understand the causes and effects of global warming, as well as the principles of sustainability issues. Similarly, BP established a program known as BPES (BP Educational Services), which introduced the dissemination of CFT (carbon footprint toolkit). This award-winning program aimed at helping the high-school students understand and internalize the impacts of climatic changes, as well as their peculiar carbon footprints. Following its success and positive public perception, BP’s toolkit received an impressive e-learning award at the IVCA (international visual communication association) in 2007. Through the creation of the above initiatives, in compliance with the newly set code of conduct, the company finally expects to recover from the previous damages and avoid any possible future damages (Carl 349).
In an attempt to recover and compensate for the damages caused by the oil leaks and spillage within the Gulf Sea, BP set aside an escrow fund of $20 million to neutralize the impact of damages caused. According to Carl, safety is a great issue of public concern and many people were becoming worried about the consumption of seafood along the coast of Gulf (352). BP thereby agreed to donate $20 million for marketing and inspection of seafood sold along the coast of Florida. I thereby conclude that it was not the BP’s wish to involve in unethical deeds since it has shown great efforts through several recovery missions towards restructuring and rebuilding its reputation. This act also confirmed the ethical concerns of BP in the public’s health, and on the company’s recovery mission from the previous sequential damages. Even though the company faced heavy cleanup charges for the damages caused, it already had a target and will for conducting the cleanup in order to show its concern for environmental conservation. This could as well help the company re-build its reputation.
Carl, Safina. BP Struggles to Resolve Sustainability Disaster. Annual Report and Form- Case
4, 32:2, (2012),342-352.
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