Corporate Responsibility in Vogue as Oil Crisis Looms

London, 23 August 2005 - As the world is heading for a super-spike oil price period approaching the $70 a barrel mark, Corporate Social Responsibility strategies and clean energy technologies are becoming increasingly attractive to investors and consumers alike. While analysts worry about oil supply shortages, shifts in consumer attitudes are set to mitigate the anticipated impact of the latest energy ‘shock’.

According to a poll conducted by GlobeScan Inc., half of the general public in North America, Australia, and Western Europe say they have either read a corporate social responsibility (CSR) report themselves or heard about one from someone else. Chris Coulter, Director of CSR Research says: "The poll not only suggests that the general public is a potential target audience, but that these reports may also be an influential way for companies to communicate their commitment to CSR, ultimately leading to better reputation and increased market share."

BP, one of the largest companies in the world, has long recognised the need for change. With a turnover dwarfing that of some nation states and as an oil company, it is directly linked with major environmental challenges. BP redirected therefore its business strategy some years ago and is now also the world's largest manufacturer of photovoltaic equipment. However, critics would like to see more robust investments into smart technologies.

Clean technology is in vogue and environmental marketing consultant, Delia Montgomery, explains what drives consumers: “Conscious people from around the globe want our unessential toxic lifestyle to stop, but money and politics deter many projects. Yet as a refreshing surprise, we are witnessing lots of businesses who rebel pollution in creative ways. A healthy lifestyle that is fashionable is as cool as it gets and even better is that there are sustainable options for every age and style today.”

Figures from the International Energy Agency indicate that 20 per cent of the energy used world-wide already originates from renewable energies; 77 per cent is produced by oil, gas and coal and about 3 per cent originate from 440 nuclear reactors. Milan Nitzschke, CEO of the German Renewable Energy Association which represents the largest global renewable energy market, comments: "Since oil-, gas- and as well uranium reserves are becoming scarce, this widening gap could be best closed with boundless renewable resources.”

To underpin the importance of international clean energy markets, the City player Euromoney plc will host for the second time the Euromoney and Ernst & Young Renewable Energy Awards, which recognise projects and companies who demonstrated best practice in renewable energy finance, project development and corporate responsibility. The Awards Ceremony will be held on 22nd September 2005 as part of the 7th Annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum (REFF) at the Royal Gardens Hotel in Kensington, London.
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