ExxonMobil CorporationTheExxon Mobil Corporation is one of the biggest multinational oil and gascorporation in the world. Formed on November 30th 1999 with itsheadquarters based in Irving, Texas the Exxon Mobile Corporation is the largestdescendant of John Rockefeller oil empire. It was formed after a merger of thestandard oil company of New Jersey, which is known as Exxon, and the standardoil company of New York, which is now known as Mobil (Hasemyer, 2015).The Exxon Mobil Corporation has a very detailed organizational structure thatfeatures a well-documented code of ethics and business conduct. The ethic’spolicy defined in the Exxon Mobile Corporation are simply to comply with allthe government laws, rules and regulations. Even though the Exxon MobilCorporation is successful it is not however immune to controversies with themost notable instance being the Exxon Knew campaign and alleged human rightsviolation in Indonesia. The Exxon Knew campaign according to their social mediaaccount was a move that was meant to discredit them. The Exxon Knew campaignwhich was globally known as #ExxonKnew was a social media phenomena created byenvironmentalists that was meant to make the Exxon Mobil take responsibility onthe ensuing climate change.
Asearlier mentioned Exxon Mobil has been embroiled in a number of controversiesmost of which are centered on climate. Exxon Mobil has over the years beencharged for having a hand for climate change cover and also on misleading thepublic on climate change. Research that has been conducted by variousenvironmental organizations has shown that ExxonMobil is one of the topgreenhouses emitters to the environment. The ExxonMobil Corporation has a veryinteresting history in regards to climate change.
From the early 1970’s,ExxonMobil has funded numerous activities that included research, lobbying,advertising, and grant making which were later revealed as effort by theindustry leader to purposely delay the widespread acceptance and action onglobal warming (Friedman, 2007). These efforts lead to what is nowknown as climate change denial. In the early 1980’s the ExxonMobil is to havesaid to have funded organizations which were critical to the Kyoto Protocol andwhich were meant to derail the public from the opinion that the burning offossil fuels was responsible for the large emissions of greenhouses gases. Theywent further by enlisting their own researchers that included their ownacademic collaborators who further went on to conduct their own research andthen published their own research papers supporting climate change denial (Farrell,2015). Even though there were reportedly few scientists who were workingfor ExxonMobil that were able to realize the effects of burning fossil fuelsinto the environment their comments were not taken into keen by the executivesin the company (Hasemyer, 2015). One such document was one ofExxonMobil researcher by the name of Black who at the time was a seniorscientist in the Research and Engineering division in ExxonMobil Corporation.At that time Black raised concern on the burning of fuels to the environmentand he addressed this concern to the company’s executives.
His effort wasunsuccessful.Inthe modern day there have been many advancements in the industry and particularlywhen it comes to technology. In the modern day there is a wide acceptance onthe unwinding effects that have been caused by global warming as a directresultant of human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels. There hasbeen a positive output that has been attributed to the rise and the emergenceof social media. Social media has over the recent years put ExxonMobil underthe spotlight which is good since the impact that has been generated withsocial media has prompted such firms to be accountable (Schwartz, 2016).
Such phenomenal can be witnessed in the incentives that have been prompted inthe social sites like the popular hashtag #ExxonKnew that prompted a lot ofconversation online on the activities of the ExxonMobil Corporation. Throughthe rise of social media many lobby groups were able to document the misdeedsthat were staple in the ExxonMobil Corporation. One such incident is documentby the events that unfolded in 2016. In 2016, two independent researchers fromHarvard were able to review nearly 200 documents and public statements thatwere entirely based on the organizations research on climate change.
The teamof independent researchers found ExxonMobil Corporation to be capable formisleading the public on the effects of global warming. The research wasconducted by Naomi Oreskes, who is a professor of the history of the science,and Geoffrey Supran, who is a postdoctoral fellow (Schwartz, 2016).They both collaborated to release a peer-reviewed paper which was firstpublished in the Environmental Research Letters and later published in the NewYork Times paper in the Opinion Article section. It was the publish in the NewYork Times that gathered all the media and social media attention creating atrend that sought for the ExxonMobil Corporation to take responsibility forclimate change. These in turn led to trickle down effects that arecharacterized with numerous court battles and faceoff between the corporategiant and environmental lobbyist. One particular issue that is raised in thesubsequent conversations after the reveal by the New York Times newspaper wasthe fact that the ExxonMobil Corporation was aware of the rising amount ofcarbon dioxide in the atmosphere and that the further knew that the emission ofcarbon dioxide into the atmosphere was a likely prospect to cause globalwarming (Song, 2015).
It was due to this argument that raised theglobal trend #ExxonKnew online. These sentiments are further supported by thefact that in the year 1982 there was an internal report that was released tothe ExxonMobil management that highlighted the consequences of climate changewhich could in the long run have a catastrophic effect and that if allowed tocontinue it would have an irreversible effect to the environment. The reportfurther states that the ExxonMobil Corporation opt to formulate a climate modeland reduce on fossil consumption. The study from the research were seen not beacted upon and the research were relatively unknown to the outside side as thecontents of the research were seen to be kept under wraps. Themove by the ExxonMobil Corporation to promote climate change denial in the1970’s through to the 1990’s can be compared by the move by the Big TobaccoCorporation to keep the relation between tobacco and cancer under wraps.
However the many advancements in the various fields over the years have put thetruth on such issues on the limelight. Various publishers and social media haveplayed the role to ensure that the mass public is made aware of such issues asthey often affect the population on a larger scale (Farrell, 2015).Through the expose by the New York Times, the ExxonMobil has been put underscrutiny as clearly shown through the various legal tussles and social mediacampaigns such as the #ExxonMobil campaign.
The aftermath of the Expose has seenthe ExxonMobil Corporation undergo various changes in their organizationalstructure. The Corporation tried to reduce the damage that was caused by thearticle published by the New York Times by issuing a statement that clarifiedthe position of the big oil company when it came to climate change (Song,2015). Even though the ExxonMobil Corporation have somehow managed tosail through the legal process without having a major dent in its financial andoperational capacity they however endured charges over conspiracy. Anotherevent that characterized the ExxonMobil knew campaign was the internal wranglesbetween the executives and the shareholders with more than two thirds of thefirm’s shareholders passing a motion in which it required the ExxonMobilCorporation to annually produce a climate change report which was in contrastto the executive’s wishes.
However the firm has since taken an incentive toclean up its name by employing several environmentalist into its board to gainthe public trust. Anotherwell-known ethical issue is human rights violation in Indonesia by ExxonMobil. Members of military units that providedsecurity for their gas extractionand liquefaction project in Aceh are said to abuse local villagers. Thevillagers accuse them of murder, torture and other types of abuse. The companydid not want to take liability for this actions as it is said they were never aresult of a specific intention. However a federal appeals court stated thatExxon Mobil was not immune from responsibility.
This events gatheredinternational attention. In 2015 federal court decided that the case mayprocced in US court because the claims sufficiently “touch and concern” theUnited States. Although, the lawsuit is still in progress there is hardevidence of unethical issues in the company.
Inconclusion, Exxon Mobil is a global oil empire that is known for hiding fromresponsibility for their unethical actions which could have been at any giventime stopped by the executives, but they usually prefer to ensure theirprofits. However, they are starting to give more attention towards publictrust. Regaining this trust may be a long and difficult process considering thenumber of organizations that are closely observing activities of the company,but since somebody is watching there is a smaller risk that Exxon Mobil willtake part in unethical actions in the future.