Friday, October 22, 2004
Green Corner Great, good and grungy gasoline
Drilling, processing, refining and transportation of gasoline are not generally ecologically beneficial, but some companies do these operations better than others. Consumers may also want to support the best companies when filling up the tank. (By the way, high-octane gas is best avoided because it requires more oil for production without resulting in any gain in gas mileage.) The Better World Handbook ranks gas stations for social and environmental responsibility, taking into account positive factors such as ecologically friendly refining operations, support of the Kyoto global warming treaty, research in renewable energy sources such as solar power, and membership in environmental groups such as the Global Climate Coalition and the Business Environmental Leadership Council. Negative factors include Clean Air Act violations, human rights violations, toxic dumping, and oil spills (remember the Exxon Valdez?). For example, BP advertises that it is researching "Beyond Petroleum," while Exxon/Mobil lobbies that global warming is a non-issue. The overall ranking for some local gas companies is,
from best to worst:
Socially responsible investors may want to take this record into account before buying shares. (If an investor owns a company with questionable policies, proxy voting and direct letters to management can be effective.)
For more information, see The Better World Handbook by Ellis Jones et al., 2001 (www.betterworldhandbook.com). Its resources include The Council on Economic Priorities, Multinational Monitor magazine, Business Ethics magazine, Boycott Action News, Coop America, and the Sierra Club.
© 2004 The Carlisle Mosquito