Interesting post on WorldChanging about BP's announcement of its move into alternative energy sources. It is amazing what an impact marketing can have; in the UK, we've had a really heavy advertising campaign from BP which, if you didn't know what they were, might make you think they were an environmental campaigning organisation. A recent issue of the Economist was packed with similar ads from Exxon and others; indeed, it's amazing how far the ground has shifted, how the issue of climate change has mainstreamed into the thinking of big (energy) business.
But what is the reality behind this? BP aims for its alternative energy to earn $8 billion over the next decade. Place that next to BP's $350 billion of revenue generated last year. If they got $8billion in a year, that would be, ooh, about 2.25%. But in the next decade....hmmm. And little of the work is to be UK-based, despite the B for British in BP.
I don't object to this move, and there is no doubt that, amongst energy companies, BP are ahead of the game on this one. Let's be clear, though: this is an economic investment for them; there is no altruism or triple bottom line driving it. They know that oil will peak, and that their future (and future profits) could similarly dry up. So let's give a muted round of applause (what one of my friends calls a "golf clap"), continue the pressure for them (and their industry colleagues) to do better, press for genuine widesweeping corporate social and environmental responsibility, and remember that 99% of that tagline is Petroleum, and 1% is Beyond.