Saturday, May 29, 2010

Boycotting BP.

From New York to Florida and points between, folks angry over the 19,000 barrels of crude oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico daily, have begun a number of boycotts of BP.

A CNN article reports that an online movement to boycott BP is growing at a rate of better than 25,000 names a day. There are two "Boycott BP" Facebook pages .... a larger one with more than 191,000 fans (as of this writing) and a much smaller one with just over 7,000 fans.

Clearly, many people are frustrated over the oil spill, but I question the effectiveness of a boycott. While the CNN article reports that there has been a 30% decline in the amount of gasoline delivered to BP stations in parts of Florida within the past few days, I suspect it is the independent station owners who are most hit by the boycott and not BP. BP does not own any gas stations in the US.

While those boycotting the gasoline produced by the oil giant may feel some sort of "moral victory" with their attempt to punish BP, it's very possible that the aluminum can, that holds their beer or soft drink, was made with aluminum manufactured by BP subsidiary Arco Aluminum. Like most international companies, BP has it's finger in many pies, so to speak, and probably won't be harmed by the boycotts.

Sure, people are frustrated and angry, but the oil spill was not intentional; it was an accident. This situation is a PR nightmare for the company and I have no doubt that they are doing all that is humanly possible to fix the problem as quickly as they can. The idea that this boycott will force BP to clean up the mess any faster is naive.
Recently, President Obama told us of his daughter coming to him and asking the question, "Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?'” The question is cute, coming from a 12 year old child. However, the overgrown children boycotting BP should realize that this problem can't be fixed over night.

1 comment:

Jay Binel said...

Hi, I´m one of that 191000 fans of Boycott BP on Facebook. I understand your point of view in the article, but I think in boycott way due to lack of transparency dealing with the trouble, wrong decissions taken by BP as using chemical products to cover oil from public opinion (making it heavier to sink it) and so on... In fact, that aren't wrong decissions for BP, just quickly ways to calm down people even if that decissions don't solve anything (as far as no one bother them, for BP is ok). That is not fair and despite making Boycott against BP is nearly impossible for a normal guy, it could make enought noise to politicians. If politicians hear that noise they could hurt BP enought and take right decissions to avoid similar situations in the future.
I'm not from United States, I'm European and from here it looks like BP is laughing off all of you. That is outrageous.