• Lauren Bloom is an interfaith minister and attorney who focuses on professional and personal integrity. Her career has been devoted to helping business professionals earn and maintain the trust of their clients, cutomers, colleagues and associates. An internationally-recognized expert on business and professional ethics, Lauren has appeared as a keynote speaker across North America and in Europe.

    Lauren lives in Springfield, Virginia outside of Washington, D.C.

  • Is BP Better than Exxon? Maybe…

    Posted on by smartauthorsites

    Got a call yesterday from one of those telephone survey companies with scads of questions about the oil industry in general and BP in particular.  According to news reports, BP has agreed to a $4.5 billion settlement with the Justice Department for its part in the largest oil spill in U.S. history.  Now, BP apparently wants to know how that settlement, along with the fairly aggressive stance it’s been taking against what it deems “frivolous” claims from Gulf residents, is playing elsewhere in the United States.

    While I usually avoid telephone surveys, the question of how big energy companies deal with the messes they make is of particular interest to me.  The caller and I quickly got into comparisons between BP and Exxon, the company famously responsible for the Alaskan spill caused when the Exxon Valdez ran aground.  I gave BP tentatively higher marks than Exxon, and here’s why:

    According to ThinkProgress.org, Exxon still hadn’t paid for the environmental damage from the Exxon Valdez spill as of July 2013, and was still fighting the damage claims in court twenty-five years after the accident occurred.  ThinkProgress.org reports that the damage to the Alaskan coastline was worse than anticipated, and pockets of oil still linger a foot or two below the surface of the beaches.  The fact that Exxon spent decades seeking to avoid paying for a full cleanup is, in my opinion, appalling.

    BP has an opportunity to do better.  Although the settlement resolves only the criminal charges against the company – civil charges are still pending, and the damages reportedly could go as high as $21 billion – it also calls for BP to put better safety and corporate ethics controls in place.  This is BP’s chance to become a leader in its industry by reforming its operations, taking responsibility for the massive damage it inflicted on the Gulf and its residents, and making real reparations.  Will BP do it?  Only time will tell.

    This entry was posted in business communications, Corporate Governance, corporate responsibility, customer relations, ethics, Social Ethics. Bookmark the permalink.

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    • “This splendid little book not only contains much of practical value (I was personally helped by it), it will encourage the development of such virtues as honesty and humility and that is no small gift.”

      --Rabbi Harold Kushner, author,
      When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

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