Drilling Deeper Into BP's Sustainability Review

The graph that BP's Sustainability Review leaves out, and what else is missing from the oil company's report.

This morning Cord posted a startling chart about BP's oil spill accounting in their latest Sustainability Review. The chart shows BP's "volume of oil spilled" in 2006, 2008, and 2010, and was pretty infuriating as it didn't include numbers from the Gulf oil spill. Which, obviously, changes things.

Here are the numbers that the graph was culled from:

Right below the chart, BP makes this bombshell of a footnote:

Our data does not include the oil spill volume or the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the Deepwater Horizon incident. These are highlighted in green.


At the end of his post, Cord says that an accurate, "much bigger" graph would include the figures from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. I took that as a challenge. Here are a couple of graphs, one including all the oil spill volume data from BP's Sustainability Review, and the second one including Gulf spill data. (I should give credit to NCES for their very cool "Create A Graph" tool.)

Compare that to a chart that includes the best estimates from the team of scientists appointed by the government to calculate the total oil spilled in the Deepwater Horizon "leak."

That's the 1.7 million liters that BP "officially" confessed to, plus the roughly 779 million liters (or 205.8 million gallons) that the government-appointed scientists estimated.

Now many who have seen the original chart have accused BP of totally glossing over or hiding from or neglecting the oil spill. While I'm not one to defend BP, I do think that's a bit off the mark. They did put a pretty gnarly photo of the spill tainting beautiful Gulf waters on the report's cover, and on the inside cover, the lead image is of the violent explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig. The first third or so of the 50-page report addresses the Gulf spill directly.

That's not to say they address it comprehensively or all that transparently. It reads like, well, PR copy, which it is. Reading CSR and sustainability reports always demands a patient parsing of heavily vetted PR speak, and this report is maybe the ultimate example of that. It pays respects to the workers who lost their lives, but also champions the efforts of BP workers responding to the spill.

More than anything else, the report seems to be attempting to propel BP beyond the oil spill. What's next? Unfortunately for the company, its investors, and the rest of us that depend on its crude on a daily basis, the answers to that question are as missing as the volume estimates from the Gulf oil spill. We read that the company will invest $1 billion "to participate in the rapidly growing low-carbon energy market." Sounds like a nice round number. Flip ahead to the "alternative energy" section (page 28) and you can read about the basics of biofuels, wind, and solar, but you won't find any hard goals or information about how exactly that $1 billion will be invested. The Canadian tar sands and carbon capture and storage seem to be far better developed than any renewable energy plans.

The numbers themselves don't tell a prettier picture. Even the Gulf spill-scrubbed stats that BP used for that deceptive chart show a company that spilled more oil in 2010 than in 2009 (not counting the Deepwater Horizon!), and which—despite the "Beyond Petroleum" hubbub of a couple years ago—is pumping out as much carbon dioxide as ever.

BP is trying to tell a good story about a company that's moving beyond the oil spill, beyond environmental destruction and climate corruption. Beyond the rhetoric, there's very little to that story.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

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In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


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The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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The Planet
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

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According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

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via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

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Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

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