Report Says Shell Is World's Most Ethical Oil Company

Shell is the world's most ethical oil company, followed by ExxonMobil and BP, according to a study by the ethics management rating firm Management & Excellence (M&E) in Madrid. Despite the controversy over the misstatement of oil reserves and the reshuffle of executives at Shell, the company excelled in many of the 120 points examined in the M&E study.

Shell decreased the oil it spilled to 6,100 tons in 2004, down from 18,700 in 1999, increased women in supervisory or professional positions from 17.1% (2000) to 19.5% (2003), reduced fatalities among employees and contractors, and pledged $5 million to Tsunami victims 3 days after the disaster. Chartered accountant organizations in the UK and Holland recognize Shell's sustainability report as among the best.

              Ranking by Total Ethical Performance

         Position           Company                 %
            1        Royal Dutch Shell             82%
            2        ExxonMobil                    80%
            3        BP                            79%
            4        Total                         75%
                     Repsol                        75%
            6        ChevronTexaco                 69%
            7        Petrobras                     53%
            8        Pemex                         36%
            9        Lukoil                        35%
           10        PDVSA                         13%

Surprisingly ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco were the most socially responsible firms: ExxonMobil spent $48 million to train 31,000 employees in 500 programs while ChevronTexaco publishes its business principles in 11 languages and even appoints a "President for Health and Safety." BP and ExxonMobil had the strongest environmental programs. BP is certifying 85 out of its 86 major operations according to ISO 14001, the environmental certification. ExxonMobil spent $2.5 billion on environmental projects in 2004. Repsol and BP did best in corporate governance: The Spanish company Repsol's Board is overseen by seven committees, including committees for disclosure, reputation and safety, and it has a policy to rotate its accountants every five years.

Brazil's Petrobras, known in the past for its regular spillages, invested $1.9 billion in environmental projects over the last five years in environment and modernization projects. It now ranks highest among the three Latin American oil firms tested in the M&E study. It meets Bovespa level 2 standards, certified all of its plants, and reduced fatalities to 19 through training and quality control programs. Petrobras' "Zero Hunger" program turns gas stations into schools in training young people.

The M&E study named "Ethics in the Oil Industry 2005" examines roughly 120 points of each of the ten companies' ethics, CSR, transparency, environment and corporate governance and is for sale from M&E.