Our "Europe's Big Polluters" series will introduce you to the largest carbon emitters in Europe. We start with the UK oil and gas company BP.
In 2002, BP launched a new logo – and even though the firm was now a group of international companies, it decided to retain the BP name (formerly “British Petroleum”) because it would stand for the new company’s aspirations: “better people, better products, big picture, beyond petroleum”.
Looking at the fossil fuel company’s development since then, there can be no doubt about it: These aspirations have failed. Or it was greenwashing from the very beginning. In any case, these goals could not be further from the truth.
Just recently, in May 2017, at BP’s Annual General Meeting in London, the company reported that it will start eight new fossil fuel extraction projects in 2017, a record high for the company. Furthermore, it will increase investment in drilling and extraction up to $17 billion USD. And it’s not only about the CO2 emissions that will go along with that: the main countries in which BP will invest for extracting new reserves are, among others, Azerbaijan, Oman, Egypt or Mauretania – all of which are not famous for respecting human rights in the least. Already in the past, the company has repeatedly been accused of putting business interest above human rights, for example in Colombia.
And this year, there is another very delicate BP project supposed to start: Re-exploring the Gulf of Mexico for oil. This is a truly dreadful signal! In 2010, BP’s oil platform “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, followed by an uncontrollable leakage of oil into the ocean. Hundred thousands litres of oil spilled into the sea daily, causing a state of emergency in the US state of Louisiana – and, of course, an environmental disaster for a countless number of ecosystems in the area. Internal documents have shown that BP was informed about serious security problems at the platform already eleven months before the catastrophe happened.
And this has not been the first environmental catastrophe caused by BP: For example, the company also operates Alaska’s largest oil field, Prudhoe Bay. In 2006, a big pipeline leak was discovered, after already up to one million liters of oil flowed into the natural environment. Due to payments caused by the Deepwater Horizon disaster, plus the low oil price, in 2015, BP had its highest loss in the company’s history, of $6.5 billion USD. More than 5.000 employees were dismissed.
And yet, the company and its many investors see no need in changing the firm’s business model – on the contrary, they are expanding it. Already now, BP has fossil fuel reserves that amount to a total of 6.33 gigatons in CO2 if they were all burnt – to give you a comparison: the whole European Union emits about 3.76 gigatons of CO2 per year.
Since the Industrial Revolution BP is Europe’s single most polluting company, they are 4th place globally. So, this company is a very important part of the root cause of global warming that we as people living on this planet have to suffer from. And this is why we need to send a strong signal to BP and make clear that their business model is not compatible with a future worth living in!
What can you do? Divest from BP! Check the finances of your own portfolio whether you directly or indirectly own stocks of this company. And even more important, target an institution that invests or might invest money in BP and convince them to divest from the company. How to do that? Watch our explanatory video to learn about the necessity of divestment and our call to action video to see how you can become active. Find even more information in our brochure “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, in which we tell you more about Europe’s big polluters and how to divest from them. We’re counting on you!