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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
17 mei 2010

De wijsheid na de zuinigheid van BP in de Golf van Mexico

Jeffrey Hollender schreef eerder een boek onder de titel "The Responsible Revolution". Ook leidt hij een zaak in groene huishoudelijke artikelen, "The Seventh Generation". Zijn bijdrage aan CSR-wire:
"From devastated ecosystems to ruined fisheries, broken local economies to toxic health effects, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill may well be the greatest catastrophe in the history of our petroleum addiction. But it does not have to be a total disaster. If we are smart, we will wring some good out of this desperate situation by using it to identify some serious collective failings and ensure they never happen again.That would be easy to do because the Gulf calamity is a case study in needed changes. That starts with the true cost of this dangerous natural resource. Whether we measure it in atmospheric damage or the consequences of extracting and transporting oil, the full cost to our planet and society is far too high. Since oil supplies will peak in the next few years, we need to begin immediately shifting to a sustainable energy system based on renewable resources. Instead of unimaginative calls for more offshore drilling, a position that is now embarrassing at best, President Obama should be rallying us around, as Thomas Friedman has advocated, an energy Marshall Plan that would create the clean power supplies we are going to need to support a healthy and sustainable economy.We can also find crucial regulatory lessons in the Gulfs oil-stained waters. Over the course of the last decade, the federal Minerals Management Service, the agency responsible for offshore drilling oversight, was packed with oil industry insiders who weakened existing safety regulations and refused to require key emergency systems that might have prevented the current havoc. These "regulators" were also lax in pursuing rules violations and levied only miniscule fines, which further encouraged industry misbehavior. Clearly, we need to increase regulatory oversight and pass new laws that prevent the foxes from guarding our henhouses.Then there is the question I cannot help but ask: If British Petroleum (the company that only a few years ago referred to itself as, "beyond petroleum") was an authentically responsible corporation, would the Gulf be in the mess it is in now? Perhaps not. An oil company driven by a mission of genuine responsibility would have voluntarily installed the non-required safety gear. It would not have been drilling to depths beyond those permitted, as has been reported, nor would it have outsourced this drilling to begin with. And when mayhem struck, instead of disputing high leak rate figures, transparency would have insisted that it come immediately clean about the extent of the problem (or at least admit that it had no idea how bad things were) so that appropriate resources could be marshaled without delay.Yes, these things can take money. An automatic switch that closes off blow-outs, for example, runs about 500,000 dollar. But compared to the 30 billion dollar drop in market value BP stock has experienced since the spill, not to mention what it might cost to clean up the entire Gulf of Mexico, that is a drop in the bucket. As I have said before, the ROI on responsibility is always a good investment. And that is the real lesson of the Deepwater Horizon disaster: Whether it is new energy policies or adopting corporate responsibility, doing the right thing usually costs a little more up front, but it always saves far more in the long run. Let us hope that wisdom is ultimately all that is left behind on the shores of Louisiana."P+ webtip: CSR Wire over BP