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Recent Corporate Citizenship Ranking Gives Chevron Dubious Honor

Adam Johnston | Wednesday October 17th, 2012 | 1 Comment

Chevron was one of the surprises in a recent corporate citizenship ranking that may get some people talking about how to improve the overall Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement.

Corporate Responsibility Magazine identified businesses that were leading the way in corporate citizenship in ten industries. These included: consumer staples; consumer items; energy; finance, insurance and real estate; media and entertainment; utilities; information technology; materials; health care; and services.

The ranking weighed seven different categories relating to each company’s corporate responsibility score. This included: environment (19.5%), climate change (16.5%), employee relations (19.5%), human rights (16%) financial (12.5%), governance (7%), and philanthropy (9%).

Some of the highlights from the rankings included:

Oil giant Chevron as top choice in the energy sector. Occidential Petroleum and Hess Corporation rounded out the top three.

Nike, Mattel and Gap were the top three choices in consumer items, with Campbell Soup, Sara-Lee, and Coca-Cola the top picks for the consumer staples sector.

JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and State Street were the corporate responsibility champions in finance, with IBM, Microsoft, and Texas Instruments leading the way in information technology.

Spectra Energy, North East Utilities, and the legendary Duke Energy lead the pack in utility sector, while Accenture, Manpower and Waste Management were the premier corporate responsibility companies in services.

While reports like CR magazine can provide companies a CSR roadmap, nonetheless there needs to be more critical evaluation of these types of lists.

For example,  look at the Chevron’s questionable “number one” corporate responsibility ranking in energy. Give Chevron some very small credit. They have invested in various renewable energy projects, including solar and biomass.  Chevron has even mildly “acknowledged” climate change. However, based on their overall climate change position, don’t expect them to give up the fossil fuel economy any time soon:

Fossil fuels—coal, oil and natural gas—release carbon dioxide during production and consumption. Fossil fuels are also the primary source of energy for the global economy, which is in the midst of a prolonged expansion that is contributing to raising the quality of life in many parts of the world, particularly in developing countries. According to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook, global energy demand will be at least 22 percent and as much as 47 percent higher in 2035 than it was in 2008, depending on future government policies. The majority of that energy will be provided by fossil fuels, even as lower-carbon alternatives continue to emerge.

With Chevron receiving a $19 billion pollution lawsuit against them in Ecuador this year, one wonders if the company is truly a “good” corporate citizen?

Meanwhile, Mattel has also had some corporate citizenship headaches in recent years. Only five years ago, in 2007, Mattel had to recall many of their toys made in China due to lead paint. Mattel even had to apologize to China for the embarrassing ordeal.

Coca-Cola, while moving forward on environmental sustainability, has been using bio-plastics in recent years.  Yet the company has been criticized by other media outlets for its lacklustre attempts to promote recycling and conservation.

At the end of the day, CSR rankings can be an important tool for change towards a more just, and sustainable world.

However, CSR rankings, like the one in CR Magazine, shows there is lots more work to do in the CSR movement in determining what real good corporate citizenship is.

Source: Environmental Leader

Image Credit: Chevron Gas Station via Wikipedia


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  • Yoshi

    With Chevron receiving a $19 billion pollution lawsuit against them in Ecuador this year, one wonders if the company is truly a “good” corporate citizen?

    ONE WONDERS if Chevron is a ‘good’ corporate citizen — does it matter? With the $19 billion dollar lawsuit hanging over its head, Chevron has been dragging its heels and nails for a decade to escape its responsibility to the earth and the people who live in the communities that the company exploited. Does it matter if some media ranking gives Chevron a corporate merit award? The basic problem with the modern way of thinking is the lack of awareness that every company’s goal is to be is deemed to be moral and socially ethical. It is the strength of corporate reputation that in effect justifies any devastation that its company field hands carries out on the environment (for the environment is just a bunch of assets & resources that that should be exploited based on the “judgement” of those who own or lease it). When environmentalists try to legally threaten the corporate reputation, the corporate public relations machine will come out with guns blazing, sending endless lines of legal mercenaries willing to say anything that will distort the case against the corporate reputation. In hindsight, we should measure corporations not on their existing corporate reputation, but rather what the corporation proclaims it will do in the future and amount of legal and PR expenses it has spent in the late 5 years counter-attacking any wrong-doing towards environmental sustainability.