BP: Beyond Petroleum? (pdf abstract)

Purchase the full report on BP: Beyond Petroleum? (Case study # 1-429-229) – published  04/2010, 28 pages.
By: Jonathan Huynh, Jacob Kapitan, Satish Katpally,  and Ben Pierson, under the supervision of Andrew Hoffman.
Description: British Petroleum (BP), one of the world’s largest oil companies, spent over $200 million rebranding itself as environmentally responsible, with the tagline “Beyond Petroleum.” However, after the catastrophic 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, the company’s name seemed permanently tarnished. Through a deep dive into the well-known and little-known events of the spill, this case study asks students to determine: what should BP do now? Newly appointed CEO Bob Dudley inherited a company that faced billions of dollars in damages, a furious public, and an irate US government. The “Beyond Petroleum” campaign that the company had so successfully undertaken in 2000 was now the focus of derision and disbelief. As CEO, Dudly must repair the company’s image, re-establish some level of trust with government, and convince investors that BP will return to profitability after this disaster.

Teaching Note
: Available to Registered Educators. Please login to view it.
Teaching Points: After discussing this case study, students will be able to

  • Evaluate in what type of businesses is it appropriate to promote sustainability efforts, and in what businesses does sustainability promotion causes more risk than benefit.
  • Determine what level of commitment to sustainability (minor, significant, “all in”) is it appropriate to brand your firm as committed to sustainability.
  • Analyze whether BP was guilty of “greenwashing.”
  • Identify traits of leadership required to recover from dire situations.
  • Generate risk mitigation options for catastrophic one-time events.

Key Topics:

  • Crisis Management
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Ethics
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Strategic Management