Ingvild Andreassen Sæverud and Jon Birger Skjærseth
Oil companies, climate strategies, ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, climate change
This article examines major oil companies in terms of climate strategies and their implementation. More specifically, it takes a critical look at Shell, BP, and ExxonMobil, and the relationship between rhetoric and action regarding investments in climate-friendly activities. Empirical evidence indicates a generally high degree of consistency between what these companies say and what they do, but interesting differences are also found: ExxonMobil has done somewhat more than its climate strategy formulations would suggest; Shell has done somewhat less; whereas BP’s activities are mainly in line with its statements. Factors at three levels contribute to explaining these differences: (1) the company level, 2) the political framework conditions in the various regions where the companies operate, 3) international climate cooperation. The findings and explanations, although restricted to the three oil companies with regard to climate change, provide insight into the relationship between corporate strategies and implementation more generally. They offer understanding and analytical categories for assessing how well and why such multinational entities put into practice stated objectives.
(2007) 7 Global Environmental Politics 42-62