Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


WWF says BP is ‘resting on its laurels’

March 2003

A leading UK charity is to disinvest from BP over concerns about the oil company’s ethical performance in the past year.

In a symbolic gesture, the UK arm of WWF will sell its holding of 51,000 shares because it no longer regards BP as necessarily best in its sector.

Anita Neville, head of advocacy at WWF-UK, said: ‘We’ve been monitoring BP’s performance over the past 12 months on a range of social and environmental issues, and over that time we’ve felt their performance could have been a good deal better. For a long time we’ve considered BP to be the best and most progressive in the sector. But there is now a feeling that perhaps they are resting on their laurels while Shell, on the other hand, has come up in recent times. It’s not so much that BP’s performance has diminished, more that it has failed to improve, and we could no longer see BP outstripping Shell in this area.’

Neville said she had spoken to ‘other people in the SRI sector who have been voicing doubts about whether BP continues to be a leading player’. Henderson Global Investors has suspended BP from its portfolio of SRI stock, mainly due to safety problems in Alaska (EP4, issue 9).

Neville said WWF-UK regularly engages with BP, which has been ‘surprised and shocked’ by the move. ‘Our intention is to keep on engaging with them in the hope that this will encourage them to improve,’ she said.

WWF’s partnership links with BP include a seven-year arrangement begun in 1997 to improve environmental education in primary and secondary schools in China. The Environmental Educator’s Initiative is BP’s largest social investment in the country.


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