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BP’s values don’t match its actions

in Peter by

One of the most exciting aspects of running this website is hearing from a diversity of voices from the community, whether it be in the increasingly active comments section or via an anonymous e-mail (that’s how I get some of my best tips).  One such voice reached out to me last month.  He calls himself Henry Boxlor, an obvious play on the name of the St. Petersburg Times’ columnist.  After several e-mails back and forth, I met with “Henry” and lets just say I came away very impressed.  “Henry” is a well-connected veteran of St. Petersburg’s City Hall.  But he’s also disaffected and discouraged with how city government is being run, so naturally he is a fan of Saint Petersblog.  Of course, I wanted “Henry” to write about Bill Foster and Co., but I may have to be patient with that as Henry Boxlor isn’t ready to crap where he eats.  But he does have opinions on a wide range of other issues, so I’ll be happy to offer him a home for his occasional op-ed.  Henry Boxlor’s first take is on, what else, the oil spill.

From their website, here is BPs mission statement:

In all our activities we seek to display some unchanging, fundamental qualities – integrity, honest dealing, treating everyone with respect and dignity, striving for mutual advantage and contributing to human progress.

From the BP group values section of the mission statement:

Health, Safety, and Environment
Health and safety : to ensure that there are no accidents, no harm to people and that no one is subject to unnecessary risk while working for the group.

From the BP Values Section Environmentally Sound Operations:

To conduct the group’s activities in a manner that, consistent with the board goals, is environmentally responsible with the aspiration of ‘no damage to the environment’. The group will seek to drive down the environmental impact of its operations by reducing waste, emissions and discharges, and by using energy efficiently.

BP what does it really stand for? Big problem, bad planning, big profits, bad management?   So what happened?  We will probably never know for sure. After all the layers of excuses are peeled away the one fact that will most likely emerge is BP was doing what all corporations do which is trying to spend the least amount they can to get the results they want.  Simple definition: more profit, increase share holder equity, all of which can be defined in one word greed. The sad eyed BP CEO apologizing over and over is becoming more pathetic each day. Why was there no equipment or science to deal with a problem like this one?  Simple. That investment does not add to share holder equity or executive compensation.

One thing is for sure the mission statement was no where to be found on the drilling rig. Whoever wrote it was some probably someone in marketing or public relations, and there is a good chance the CEO wasn’t aware it even existed.  I like the Obama administration’s criminal investigation approach. These guys need to do some serious time in a real prison not a low security country club. I think a couple of BP executives doing the perp walk would send a real message to corporate America at least to the oil industry.

And to deal with the whole share holder equity thing, how about a class action law suit holding every BP share holder at the time of the incident personally liable for their proportionate share of the total cost. I think along with share holder equity there should be some shareholder responsibility. That would get some investors seriously watching the company’s operations and not just the share price.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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