19 April 2001
As BP prepared for their annual general meeting on the 19th of April London
Reclaim the Streets (RTS) announce their intention to strike at the heart of
the oil giant's glossy public image. "Green" makeovers and stage managed
meetings cannot hide the truth about what goes on behind the grand facade of
BP's corporate headquarters.
BP are attempting to re-brand themselves as a caring, sharing,
environmentally friendly company, "beyond petroleum". But the millions they
spend on image consultants cannot hide the truth - along with the rest of the
oil industry they intend to increase oil production by approximately 5%.
This flies in the face of the International Panel on Climate Change's
recommendation that carbon emissions should drop by 60-90% to halt global
BP's involvement in Colombia has led to a close partnership with the
Colombian army and their paramilitary allies. Human Rights Watch reports that trade
union activists working for BP have been threatened and killed.
The company is involved in a hearts and minds propaganda campaign against the
public. BP is spending over $100 million a year on its new logo and "beyond
petroleum" tagline, a similar figure to their trumpeted investment in solar
energy. More insidiously they target children through educational programmes
and "schools link" schemes.
If their continuing commitment to oil was not enough to destroy their PR
image, a glance at the company's bottom line reveals its true nature.
Profits for 2000 exceeded $14 billion. Sir John Browne, the corporation's
chief executive earned over £5 million. BP's sole aim is to generate profits
for its shareholders. Whether it achieves this by getting into bed with a
repressive regime or by crowing about solar panels on a handful of filling
stations is irrelevant to the company's logic of expansion and exploitation.
The irony of a BP AGM on car free day was too striking for RTS to ignore. We
intend to give a clear message to the Directors and major shareholders in
Thursday's meeting. We are not prepared to sit back while "beyond petroleum"
becomes a euphemism for "bye-bye planet"