BP Amoco Asked to Commit to Sustainability

BP Amoco has been in the sustainable business limelight since CEO, Sir John Browne announced major commitments to solar energy and to reducing the company’s contribution to climate change through internal emissions trading and other measures. Yet the company continues its lobbying efforts to open the Arctic to oil exploration through its Northstar project and by opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Now, the company’s policies will put to a shareholder vote at the annual meeting on April 13. A shareholder resolution calls on BP Amoco to cancel its Northstar Arctic project and invest the proceeds in the solar energy market.

The U.S. social investment firm Trillium Asset Management filed the resolution with SANE BP, a group that includes Greenpeace, the US Public Interest Research Group and socially responsible investors in the U.S. and Britain.

Simon Billenness, a senior analyst with Trillium says, “With this resolution, shareholders in the U.S. and Europe are telling the company to put policy into practice. They can choose between funding dirty arctic oil or clean and green solar energy.”

BP Amoco insists the Northstar plan protects the environment. Construction schedules avoid whale migration, there are state-of-the-art spill prevention features, and elevated onshore pipelines allow passage of caribou and other wildlife. In early February, however, BP Exploration Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of BP Amoco and the third largest oil company in the world, was fined the maximum criminal fine of $500,000 and ordered to establish a $15 million nationwide environmental management system for failing to report the illegal disposal of hazardous waste by one of its contractors.

More than this, shareholders are concerned with BP’s continued focus on producing more fossil fuels in light of the company’s outspoken commitment to mitigating climate change. They point to the evidence that shows the Western arctic is warming three to five times faster than the rest of our planet.

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