Rhetoric and Realities
Edited by Regine Barth and Franziska Wolff
Chapter 5: CSR in the European Oil Sector: A Mapping of Company Perceptions
Elin Lerum Boasson, Jørgen Wettestad and Maria Bohn 5.1 INTRODUCTION Compared with other businesses, the oil industry has been especially active in both developing and applying Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) instruments. But do they all approach CSR similarly? And what issues are their CSR activities directed towards? This chapter aims to track down the prevailing CSR perceptions in the oil sector. What is the ‘oil sector’ in this context? In Europe this sector is highly dominated by a relatively small number of multinational oil companies. We found it appropriate to include major companies as well as ensuring geographical representation encompassing different parts of Europe and major actors with a basis abroad. Most of the companies are involved in upstream as well as downstream activities. Moreover, we checked relevant federations’ member lists1 and added the criterion of being central companies/ operators on the British, Dutch and Norwegian shelves. On this basis, we singled out a set of 15 relevant companies: Amerada Hess, BP, Conoco, ENI, ExxonMobil, Gaz de France, Hydro, NAM, Orlen, Repsol, RWE-DEA, Shell, Statoil, Talisman and Total. After considerable effort, we managed to get a response from nine of these companies; mostly the European ones (Table 5.1). This is not surprising, as there appears to be some CSR ‘questionnaire fatigue’ among companies these days, not least in the big oil companies. As many of the dominating companies on the European scene chose to participate in the survey, the respondents do however represent a large part of the sector’s...
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