Corporate Karma

I have never really been one to boycott (Well, there was that time in high school where I learned about sweatshops, and tore at the stitching of my Nike logo on a pair of gym shorts). Yet, recently in Newsweek there was an article by Sharon Bagley, happily titled, “Boycott BP? Don’t Bother”. Here she delves into the reasons she doesn’t think you should worry about spending your money at your local BP (although, how any one could look at the spill and skip over to BP is beyond me).

Her argument basically boils down to this:

  • All oil companies are pretty despicable. No matter what, your money will support environmental disasters.
  • We use a lot of gas and will continue to do so.

Corporate social responsibility is mostly caused by the willingness of the consumer to vote with their dollar. Unfortunately, in a political climate that still seems to err more on the side of deregulation, this is one of the few ways an average citizen can hope to influence a corporation to act with a regard to public welfare. Waiting around for congress may not even produce the results we need. The environmental bill in congress has been called dead before.

It should go without saying, that we need a strong reaction to incentivize BP and all of the other oil companies to stop acting recklessly with oil. Simply shrugging our shoulders at the mess in the gulf, tells Chevron, Exxxon, and Texaco that it’s okay to mess up because you will still go to their pumps. By accepting these pessimistic anti-boycott ideas, you are giving the oil companies what they want. Profits with no repercussion for their actions.

In another call to abandon boycotts for an accused uselessness, I still say that if BP was willing to spend nearly a billion dollars for a deceptive little green logo, then they have an investment in their corporate image and the stations emblazoned with their logo.  They believe their corporate image is important and can further their corporate interests and help load their coffers. Now more than ever, it’s time to wipe that green off their face, and show that BP needs to clean up more than a logo to earn your money.

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