BP: The Most Sustainable Big Oil Company?

Big Oil


Big Oil companies are inherently unsustainable. Petroleum is a limited and polluting resource, so any company that makes its money slinging gasoline probably shouldn’t make it to the top of a list of green companies. Nevertheless, Two Tomorrows has attempted to rank the ten biggest fossil fuel companies in corporate responsibility using five categories: Strategy, Innovation and Leadership, Governance, Engagement, and Value Chain.

The results:

Rank Company Tomorrow’s Value score
1 BP 59%
2 Shell 55%
3 ExxonMobil 46%
4 ConocoPhillips 43%
5 Total 42%
6 ENI 41%
7 Chevron 32%
8 GazProm 7%
9 Sinopec 7%
10 China National Petroleum 6%

So how did BP score top billing? According to Two Tomorrows, the company takes stakeholder concerns into account, keeps its social and environmental performance transparent, and uses a third party to assess its sustainability report. All of the top companies have also invested in alternative energy to some extent. State-owned petroleum companies like GazProm, Sinopec, and China National Petroleum, on the other hand, are lacking in all of the aforementioned areas and don’t exhibit any transparency related to the socio-economic impacts of oil exploration, refining and delivery.


All of the oil companies on the list still have a long way to go before they can be called responsible corporate citizens. One hurdle that the companies still have to pass: addressing the ecological and socio-economic impacts of oil sands extraction. That ignorance probably won’t last for long–green groups have brought the issue to the masses with a splashy tar sands awareness ad in the Oscar edition of Variety magazine. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has already been forced to respond, and individual oil companies can’t be far behind.

[Via Greenbiz]

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more