19 April 2001

BP de-re-branded:
"Bye-bye Planet"

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.

Bye-bye Planet banner

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 warming.

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"

Notes to Editors

1. Reclaim the Streets is a direct action group working towards social and environmental justice.

2. In 1998 Human Rights Watch wrote to Sir John Browne, chief executive of BP, expressing concern at BP's involvement in Colombia. The full text of the letter can be found at www.hrw.org/advocacy/corporations/colombia/Oilpat-01.htm, and an extract from their 1999 World Report on the human rights record of oil companies at www.hrw.org/hrw/worldreport99/special/corporations.htm.

Further information can be found at:

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Updated 27 April 2001