BP: Beyond Profit

Bernard Looney, the CEO of BP, has declared the coronavirus crisis as showing that it is no longer acceptable for companies to focus solely on maximising profits.

In a post on LinkedIn the head off the oil supermajor said that, “purpose is not a ‘nice to have’ for businesses. We are part of society, and never more so than in a crisis. How companies treat their employees, support their communities, coordinate with governments and work with shareholders will really matter over the coming weeks and months.”

He continued “If we can’t find ways to help our societies meet this challenge, then what are we here for? This crisis has helped make clear that the world in which the sole objective of a company’s purpose is to maximise profit is no longer acceptable.”

Looney expressed his view that there was a balance, where society supported companies, but they must, in turn, help society: “Taxpayers and governments have stepped up to support many businesses and their employees through this difficult time - and they will understandably expect business to be shoulder to shoulder with them. That is not in any way to suggest that business doesn’t work to deliver value for shareholders – just that there need not be a tradeoff – and the ‘how’ really matters.”

Looney also reaffirmed the company’s commitment to get to net zero by 2050 or sooner, in fact he noted that it reinforced his belief in “reimagining energy and reinventing bp [sic]”and that it was a duty of corporates to aid the transition as another aspect of the pact with greater society.

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