The Beyond Petroleum positioning of BP may have been little more than hundreds of millions of dollars spent in greenwashing.
According to The Power Grid column in yesterday’s New York magazine, BP’s investment in hydrogen, wind, solar, and biofuels amounts to just 6 percent of its overall capital expenditures.
While this is certainly a significant amount in terms of dollars (or pounds) spent, it pales in comparison to what BP spends annually on oil exploration and production.
And this does not include, writes John Heilemann, “the tens of millions of dollars that BP has spent on lobbying against safety regulations, even as it’s compiled the most abysmal safety record of any major oil company.”
One key point in the article: safety violations by BP over the past five years totaled 760, as compared to only one for Exxon Mobil.
As we wrote yesterday, media monitoring firm General sentiment calculates that BP has lost $1 billion in brand value since the Gulf Oil spill.
It’s not the fact that BP had an accident that makes this brand suspect; it’s the manner in which they have tried to pass off blame and responsibility that bothers most.
Add to the above the 700,000 “friends” who have signed on to one of the three Boycott BP pages on Facebook, and you have a brand that is approaching free fall.
Sadly, the BP Board doesn’t seem to get this yet. By the time they do, it will be too late. (Another reason why Marketing needs to be brought into Corporate Boardrooms.)
The tombstone for the BP brand is being readied, and the graveyard of Enron, WorldCom, HIH Insurance, and myriad others awaits.