The British Petroleum Company’s Social Performance

Abstract

During the last decade, British Petroleum, which is also referred to as BP, has played a vital role in leading other gas and oil companies in terms of alleviating social and environmental effects by establishing numerous conservation initiatives around the world.

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This paper aims at establishing the impacts of BP on the world communities and environments by investigating the key roles of salient stakeholders and mitigation measures they have to put in place to curb future effects. The paper also explores the way in which primary stakeholders have influenced the organization’s financial performance. In addition, the paper specifies social and environmental damage and ways to alleviate the issue as the key controversial corporate social responsibility concern that is associated with BP. The paper also highlights the major challenges of forming a coalition to force the oil company to integrate CSR aspects into its operations.

Introduction

The British Petroleum that is currently known as BP, is a multinational company whose business is to explore, extract, refine, and sell natural gas and petroleum products. The oil and gas company has its headquarters in London and several branches in over 100 countries all over the world. The company has strived to address environmental issues that affect a larger portion of the world population. For instance, the company has featured in the frontline during campaigns for alleviating global warming and/or lessening the rate of carbon emissions. This essay presents BP’s social performance by giving an insight into the company’s CSR role and mitigation measures that it can deploy to ensure social and environmental conservation.

Nature, Structure, and Types of BP’s Products and Services

BP delivers a number of petroleum products, natural gas, and a variety of services to its customers around the globe. BP performs a number of activities that include exploration, extraction, and refining of naturally occurring gas and oil. In addition to processing services, the company offers transport and storage services (Mobus, 2012). BP provides its international clientele with several types of products that include fuel, energy for heat and light, motor oil, lubricants, gas, and other petrochemical compounds. Fuel products comprise liquefied natural gas and petrochemicals. The company also offers electricity and risk management services to both industrial and utility sectors.

Just like any other organization, various key factors in BP’s external environment, such as political pressure and technology, affect the success of the multinational oil company. Political pressures that occur within its functional areas have reduced the rate of growth of the company. The company has markets in countries that experience varying political stabilities that have led to significant impacts on its success. Varying political decisions have led to the establishment of different legal and a regulatory framework to govern the operations of BP (Korschun, Bhattacharya, & Swain, 2012). Technology is a major factor that has affected the operations of BP in a variety of ways.

For instance, the invention of the capping stack device to stop oil flows is one of the most expensive technologies that the company has met in its lifetime. Furthermore, the company has adopted intranet services in an attempt to connect employees in more than 100 global localities (Anderson & Bieniaszewska, 2005). This situation has led to increased expenditures that have slowed the company’s growth.

BP Stakeholders

British Petroleum has numerous salient stakeholders within its various areas of operations. The most salient stakeholders for the company are the employees, shareholders and analysts, and government regulatory authorities. The company has a vast and diverse workforce of approximately 100,000 employees. BP has deployed multifarious communication channels to boost the interchange of information amongst employees and other key stakeholders internationally. The establishment of the intranet has networked the company in a way that has created operational efficiency. Secondly, BP has a number of shareholders and analysts worldwide (Lawrence & Weber, 2014).

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Analysts compile annual reports that serve as a meditation tool for shareholders. Shareholders use analysis in the annual reports to make strategic plans for the firm. The third salient stakeholder is the government. Government regulatory authorities have profound effects on BP’s operations that influence its decisions to engage in international oil treaties.

Ways in which Primary Stakeholder can influence BP’s Financial Performance

The primary stakeholders influence BP’s overall financial performance in various ways. First, BP’s employees have a direct influence on their financial performance through their multifarious strategic choices and performances. Therefore, they are important partners who help in terms of accomplishment of its organizational goals and objectives. Secondly, government dictatorial authorities influence BP’s management since they have powers to control markets, the right to property, and the general state authority. Direct and indirect government powers have had a profound influence on BP’s profits (Tuodolo, 2009).

Thirdly, shareholders, and analysts affect the financial performance of BP through reimbursement of retirement benefits and pension recompenses. Typically, BP uses a shareholder business model to address the needs of all stakeholders. Therefore, it is concerned with increasing its stock value, which generates a proportional amount of income to the company’s overall revenue (De Wolf & Mejri, 2013).

Fourthly, its primary stakeholders possess legal rights that directly affect its decision-making processes, policies, and actions. BP’s policies and actions have a direct influence on the company’s financial performance. Lastly, government regulatory authorities have direct economic interests in the business. Hence, governments in BP’s countries of operation have inherent interests in its financial performance (Tuodolo, 2009).

Controversial Corporate Social Responsibility Concern Associated with BP

BP’s operations have raised a controversial CSR issue pertaining to its social and environmental conservation measures. Generally, oil industries damage the environment whilst affecting social structures by virtue of their nature of operations. This situation has fired controversial debates worldwide over their rightfulness with reference to their CSR promotion activities through deliberate businesses. BP faces significant challenges that are likely to flaw the company’s reputation with time, if not addressed adequately. Anderson and Bieniaszewska (2005) confirm that the United Kingdom Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA) regulates the decisions made by oil companies.

It also addresses issues that relate to corporate social responsibility worldwide. The UK-based organization facilitates the businesses of oil companies with the help of local stakeholders, government dogmatic authorities, and communities to maintain eco-friendly operations across the globe. In particular, UKOOA has assisted BP in establishing sustainable business activities that foster environmental conservation and social growth (Anderson & Bieniaszewska, 2005).

How BP should Address Social and Environmental Conservation Issues

BP can apply the following plan to address social and environmental issues that arise due to its oil and gas activities. The plan is to create a coalition that can address social and environmental issues by minimizing communication barriers whilst attracting as many stakeholder followers as possible.

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Formation of a Core Group

To create a sound coalition, there is a need to form a core group by identifying potential members who should comprise social and environmental specialists, shareholders, policymakers, community leaders, and other influential people within the affected communities (Lawrence & Weber, 2014).

Coalition Training and Creation of Awareness

The next step will involve holding the first meeting to create awareness of the prevailing disaster preparedness expertise at BP. This step will involve the recognition and expression of concern with reference to the problem by members of the coalition (Tuodolo, 2009). It also entails member identification and determination of the coalition’s key players.

Follow-Ups

After the first meeting, the coalition should hold some follow-up meetings to investigate member commitment and perhaps create new opportunities for fresh members (Anderson & Bieniaszewska, 2005). Follow-ups also comprise brainstorming of ideas from the identified coalition members within the scope of the intended purpose of the coalition.

Various reasons support the importance of the aforementioned blend of coalition members. First, social and environmental specialists enable the coalition to establish key issues and their effects on the community and environment. Such professional staff members ensure that the coalition stays within the boundaries of its vision and mission. In addition, policymakers assist the coalition in laying down relevant and achievable goals and objectives since they understand energy regulation and laws that govern BP’s business in the target localities.

Potential Challenges of Forming a Coalition

Various challenges accompany attempts to encourage stakeholders to form a coalition. First, stakeholder coalitions have common issues with a commitment to assigned tasks. Some stakeholders show little devotion to negotiated roles. This situation deters the accomplishment of visions and missions of the coalition. Secondly, such coalitions develop participation and power-sharing problems as greedy individuals anticipate unseen benefits due to probable corruption activities. Interaction, negotiation, and decision-making processes within stakeholder coalitions have a significant influence on the success of the coalition. Lastly, due to the actuality of flawed decision-making processes, challenges of accountability might arise in the course of service due to loss of honesty, the obligation to duty, and reliability (De Wolf & Mejri, 2014).

How to Overcome the above Challenges

However, coalition leaders should follow some crucial steps to overcome the identified challenges.

  • There should be effective management of coalition resources to avoid overloading coordinators with many responsibilities (Mobus, 2012). Therefore, the coalition coordinators should readily delegate duties to the various members to keep them participative.
  • Alliance leaders should allow members enough time to develop interest and stay involved in the coalition’s activities (De Wolf & Mejri, 2013). Democratic development of interest transforms the unpretentious development of ideas into solutions.
  • The provision of relevant knowledge and empowerment of the coalition members are important for curtailing matters that pertain to corruption, flawed decision-making processes, and accountability challenges.
  • There is a need to train members to remove any fears that may possibly arise while presenting the coalition’s matters in the media.
  • Lastly, a coalition should have sufficient funds to finance its activities. Coordinators should ensure that the coalition has adequate funds to run the potential ideas provided by the coalition members to keep them motivated and/or involved in future activities (Mobus, 2012).

Conclusion

BP has established sustainable business activities that foster environmental conservation and social growth as a first step towards gaining a competitive advantage over other oil companies. It is important for social and environmental specialists, shareholders, policymakers, community leaders, and other influential people within the affected communities to devise efficient ways and means to save societies, fauna, and flora from the environmental menace that stems from the activities of the giant multinational companies.

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Reference List

Anderson, C.L., & Bieniaszewska, R.L. (2005). The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in an Oil Company’s Expansion into New Territories. Web.

De Wolf, D., & Mejri, M. (2013). Crisis communication failures: The BP Case Study. International Journal of Advances in Management and Economics, 2(2), 48-56. Web.

Korschun, D., Bhattacharya, C. B., & Swain, S.D. (2014). Corporate Social Responsibility, Customer Orientation, and the Job Performance of Frontline Employees. Journal of Marketing, 78(3), 20-37. Web.

Lawrence, A. T., & Weber, J. (2014). Business & society: Stakeholders, ethics, public policy. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin. Web.

Mobus, J.L. (2012). Corporate Social Responsibility (Csr) Reporting By Bp: Revealing Or Obscuring Risks? Journal of Legal, Ethical & Regulatory Issue, 15(2), 35-52. Web.

Tuodolo, F. (2009). Corporate Social Responsibility: Between Civil Society and the Oil Industry in the Developing World. An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 8(3), 530-541. Web.

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