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Economy

BP Olympic sustainability partnership ‘beggars belief’

The London 2012 organisers had promised “the greenest ever Games”, but controversial link-ups have led to serious questions over whether the decision-makers truly understand the term ‘sustainability’.

A group of protesters has written a letter objecting to the announcement that BP will be one of six sustainability partners at the London Olympics this summer. Given BP’s history of unsustainable practices, the complaints should come as a surprise to no one.

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The London 2012 organisers had promised “the greenest ever Games”, but controversial link-ups have led to serious questions over whether the decision-makers truly understand the term ‘sustainability’.

A group of protesters has written a letter objecting to the announcement that BP will be one of six sustainability partners at the London Olympics this summer. Given BP’s history of unsustainable practices, the complaints should come as a surprise to no one.

The oil giant is both a carbon offset and sustainability partner at the Games, whilst also, somewhat jarringly, being named the official oil and gas partner.

Though BP’s roles were announced nearly four years ago, the recently sent open letter raises a number of important moral points, and states, “While [BP] may have won its bid with an impressive list of proposals, the company’s ethics and history seem to have evaded scrutiny”.

The list of 34 signees includes academics and campaigners, as well as representatives from Greenpeace, People & Planet, Climate Rush, Carbon Trade Watch and the Polaris Institute. Jess Worth, co-founder of the UK Tar Sands Network, also adds her name to the letter. “The idea that BP is a suitable sustainability partner for the London Olympics beggars belief”, she said.

Whoever okayed this decision clearly has no understanding of what ‘sustainability’ means”.

Being selected as both sustainability and oil and gas partner at the Games does appear to be a conflict of interests given the finite and unsustainable nature of fossil fuel consumption.

BP’s revenue streams tap into Arctic exploitation, its involvement in frontier oil projects and deepwater drilling. Add to that the on-going devastation caused by the explosion at the company’s Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010—a disaster that saw 20 million gallons of oil leak into the Gulf of Mexico—and major cracks appear in BP’s sustainable credentials.

BP is clearly using Olympic sponsorship as an opportunity to greenwash its sullied image, as it has been doing with its sponsorship of the arts over recent years”, Worth added.

We think the Olympics organisers need to revisit the decision to allow BP this honour, and disregard the corporate spin to embrace a vision of sustainability that involves moving beyond dirty fossil fuels”.

In response, a BP spokesperson claimed that the company was “working with London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to make these Games the most sustainable yet”, but failed to address the overbearing unsustainable nature of its business.

Research conducted by sponsorship specialist, Havas Sports & Entertainment, suggests that BP’s so-called ‘greenwash’ is paying off.

In a poll of just over 3,000 UK adults, only 18% were unaware of BP’s Olympic sponsorship. More importantly, 38% of those who were aware thought that BP was indeed working efficiently towards a sustainable future.

Alastair Macdonald, director of sponsorship insights at Havas, said, “These results provide persuasive evidence that sponsoring the Olympics Games can make a real difference to how people perceive a brand”.

The open letter concluded by calling for a more ethically-driven selection process, “We request that you reconsider the terms of the partnership with BP, and put in place a more stringent ethical sponsorship policy that is in line with Olympic principles and the Code of Ethics, that will prevent BP and similar companies basking in such undeserved glory in the future”.

The Blue & Green Tomorrow plan for a sustainable future certainly holds itself to more rigorous criteria and excludes such large-scale polluters as BP. Your investment choices are part of that plan, so if you want to help create a more sustainable system, get in touch with your financial adviser and start asking which companies your money is supporting. No IFA? No problem—fill in our online form and we’ll connect you with a specialist ethical adviser.

Related links:

BP and Sempra put $1 billion into wind projects

How BP’s growth in profit doesn’t mirror its ethics

Picture source: Matthew Kenwrick

Economy

How Going Green Can Save A Company Money

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going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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Economy

Report: Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance

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“The level of influence that ethical considerations have over consumer selection of financial services products and services is minimal, however, this is beginning to change. Younger consumers are more willing to pay extra for products provided by socially responsible companies.” Jessica Morley, Mintel’s Financial Services Analyst.

Consumer awareness of the impact consumerism has on society and the planet is increasing. In addition, the link between doing good and feeling good has never been clearer. Just 19% of people claim to not participate in any socially responsible activities.

As a result, the level of attention that people pay to the green and ethical claims made by products and providers is also increasing, meaning that such considerations play a greater role in the purchasing decision making process.

However, this is less true in the context of financial services, where people are much more concerned about the performance of a product rather than green and ethical factors. This is not to say, however, that they are not interested in the behaviour of financial service providers or in gaining more information about how firms behave responsibly.

This report focuses on why these consumer attitudes towards financial services providers exist and how they are changing. This includes examination of the wider economy and the current structure of the financial services sector.

Mintel’s exclusive consumer research looks at consumer participation in socially responsible activities, trust in the behaviour of financial services companies and attitudes towards green, ethical and socially responsible financial services products and providers. The report also considers consumer attitudes towards the social responsibilities of financial services firms and the green, ethical and socially responsible nature of new entrants.

There are some elements missing from this report, such as conducting socially responsible finance with OTC trading. We will cover these other topics in more detail in the future. You can research about Ameritrade if you want to know more ..

By this report today: call: 0203 416 4502 | email: iainooson[at]mintel.com

Report contents:

OVERVIEW
What you need to know
Report definition
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The market
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
The consumer
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Competition from technology companies
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
What we think
ISSUES AND INSIGHTS
Creating a more inclusive economy
The facts
The implications
Payments innovation helps fundraising go digital
The facts
The implications
The social debt of the financial crisis
The facts
The implications
THE MARKET – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
PUTTING FINANCIAL SERVICES IN AN ETHICAL CONTEXT
An ethical economy
An ethical financial sector
Ethical financial services providers
GREEN, ETHICAL AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ISSUES IN FINANCIAL SERVICES
The role of investing
Divestment
The change potential of pensions
The role of trust
Greater transparency informs decisions
Learning from past mistakes
The role of innovation
Payments innovation: Improving financial inclusion
Competition from new entrants
The power of new money
The role of the consumer
Consumers empowered to make a change
Aligning products with self
THE CONSUMER – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
For financial products, performance is more important than ethics
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Competition from technology companies
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
Overall trust levels are high
THE ETHICAL CONSUMER – SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ACTIVITIES
Payments innovation can boost charitable donations
Consumer engagement in socially responsible activities is high
Healthier finances make it easier to go green
SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE COMPANIES
37% unable to identify socially responsible companies
Building societies seen to be more responsible than banks….
….whilst short-term loan companies are at the bottom of the pile
CONSUMER TRUST IN THE BEHAVIOUR OF FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANIES
Overall trust levels are high
Tax avoidance remains a major concern
The divestment movement
Nationwide significantly more trusted
Trust levels remain high
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS GREEN AND ETHICAL FINANCIAL PRODUCTS
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Socially conscious consumers are more concerned
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS TRANSPARENCY
Strategy reports provide little insight for consumers
Lack of clarity regarding corporate culture causes concern
Consumers want more information
THE ROLE OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS IN SOCIETY
The social debt of the financial crisis
THE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS
For consumers, financial services firms play larger economic role
Promoting financial responsibility
CHALLENGER COMPANIES AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Consumer trust is built on evidence
The alternative opportunity
The target customer

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