As BP’s oil spill spreads throughout the Gulf, it has awakened the American people. How could a company that claims to be socially conscious do so much to destroy our planet? If BP was socially responsible, wouldn’t it be more forthcoming in allocating its $38 billion operating profits to urgently address all aspects of the spill? In an interview with NPR, Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen’s Energy Program said, “We want to punish BP. We want to send a message that a company cannot just purchase an image that it is socially conscious.”
Since the explosion and subsequent deluge of oil that began 40 days ago, BP stock is down 30%. While that might seem like a lot, the company is still worth over $130 billion. BP’s spill cleanup costs have eclipsed $1 billion and could eventually cost over $10 billion, but can you really put a price on the damage to the environment? If it is true that BP cut corners and that they put on a fraudulent show for the President Obama’s Gulf visit (as reported by CNN’s Anderson Cooper), should BP really be worth $130 billion? See below for a YouTube video capturing the NASA satellite of the growing BP spill.
Consumers … this is your opportunity to vote with your wallet. Many of you are angered and would love to change BP’s slogan of Beyond Petroleum to Bankruptcy Protection. The backlash has spread to Facebook with over 200,000 fans of Boycott BP. One recent post summed it all up: “Our battle against this monster begins. It should not be bloody but rather economic. Don’t buy BP products.” Did you know that BP had $265 billion of revenue and $38 billion of pre-tax operating income over the last 12 months? Both amounts are more than double what Google has done over the past 12 months. Is BP creating twice the economic and consumer value of Google? Maybe it was at some point, but it’s not today.
In an era where banks are bailed out and countries are bailed out, often by you the taxpayer, this is one time when you have a choice. You don’t have to pay a penny more to BP. When I was driving by a BP earlier today and saw two cars there, I thought to myself, “I hope they just ran out of gas and BP was their only chance at refueling, because there’s no other excuse to go to BP.” A message needs to be sent to companies and executives that there are consequences when they take undue risks and cut corners that could lead to catastrophe. The Boycott BP campaign wants you to think twice, and then think again, before purchasing from BP, and spread the word to your friends and family.
While we all hope and pray that ultimately the gusher will be quieted, use every image from the oil spill as a reminder that you, the consumer, must raise your voice and be heard. Consumers have a responsibility to make informed purchase decisions both in terms of the value they get out of their purchases, and the types of companies they support. At this defining moment, consumers must rally together and bring in a new era in which planet and people matter, and responsibility is king.