Subject: Viridian Note 00371: Hex on Exxon
- Key concepts:
- Exxon-Mobil, Greenpeace, culture-jamming
- Attention Conservation Notice:
- it's political
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From: Kert Davies <kert.davies*wdc.greenpeace.org>
To: Bruce Sterling <bruces*well.com>
Subject: FW: [Usa-staff] Oil Sector Story on XOM
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 17:04:41 -0400
"Thought you might appreciate this bit of agit-prop. I'm
sure you caught wind of our invasion of the HQ building
before their annual meeting as well. Fun."
(((Thanks for keeping us Viridians in the loop, Kert!
(((Ladies and gentlemen, quite frankly, I have some qualms
about this kind of culture-jamming. It seems to me to
tread close to forgery. But let's be realistic here.
This is EXXON-MOBIL we're talking about! These marauders
are beyond the pale of civilization.)))
"Here's the article from OPIS == the oil industry
"Head: ExxonMobil under 'green' attack
"About 700 journalists, oil analysts, shareholders,
and company executives this week are receiving in the mail
large white envelopes emblazoned with the familiar
ExxonMobil logo and the words 'Revised Annual Report
"Recipients are bound to think that the official-
looking correspondence comes directly from the oil
company. They should think again. The mailing comes from
"The faux annual report, a pointed and slickly
produced satire, takes the oil company to task for what
Greenpeace and other groups contend is a poor
environmental record. The spoof pulls no punches. For
example, the real report depicts three globes, whereas the
fake report features the same globes, but they're on fire.
(((So is our own globe, but who's counting.)))
"To be sure, ExxonMobil is coming under ferocious fire
from shareholder and environmental groups that want the
company's shareholders to support global-warming
resolutions at its annual meeting May 28 in Irving, Texas.
"ExxonMobil is steadfastly against the resolutions.
(((Exxon-Mobil also lavishly supports black-propaganda
efforts that attack climate science.)))
"In a separate activist campaign that seeks the same
goals, the two strongest institutional evaluation services
in the United States == Institutional Shareholder Services
and the Investor Responsibility Research Center == this
month published reports increasing pressure on ExxonMobil
shareholders to vote 'yes' on the resolutions.
"The resolutions that will be voted on by ExxonMobil
shareholders on May 28 call on the company to create the
- "a report on the risks presented by climate change and
how ExxonMobil will mitigate those risks (Item 14 on the
- "a report on how the company will respond to regulatory,
competitive, and public pressure to develop renewable
energy (Item 15 on the Proxy Card); and
- "greater balance on its corporate board by separating
the roles of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (Item 9
on the Proxy Card).
(((It would likely help a lot with this last bullet-point,
if Lee Raymond of Exxon-Mobil were sent to The Hague to
"Previous to the shareholder group actions, pressure on
the oil company already was mounting. Notably, Campaign
ExxonMobil released on May 13 a 29-page report from
London-based Claros Consulting charging that ExxonMobil is
alone among the four major oil companies refusing to adopt
any strategy to counter global warming."
(((Look, that's not a "charge." That's a fact.)))
"Campaign ExxonMobil is a non-profit organization that
represents shareholders who are concerned about how
ExxonMobil is failing to respond to the problem of climate
"The entire campaign == especially Greenpeace's clever
bit of agit-prop == is causing considerable anger in the
corporate suites of ExxonMobil.
"'We've been a target of organizations like Greenpeace
for some time,' said Tom Cirigliano, spokesperson,
ExxonMobil. 'None of this is new; these measures have been
soundly defeated before by our shareholders, and they will
again on May 28. Our shareholders know that we're doing
something about climate change and we take it seriously ==
we're doing a lot more than Greenpeace is doing!'
(((Boy, that's for sure. Exxon-Mobil probably spews more
carbon in an hour than Greenpeace has in 30 years.)))
"Cirigliano asserted that ExxonMobil is investing
hundreds of millions of dollars in new technology and
research that will make meaningful reductions in
greenhouse gases and other emissions. 'While we're doing
that, Greenpeace is spending a lot of money on meaningless
and expensive PR gimmicks like this sham annual report,'
he said. 'If I were a member of Greenpeace, I'd have real
questions about the money and effort they've put into
this. It shows their usual lack of judgment. From a PR
perspective, it's not even effective communications. Most
people won't take the trouble to read this; they're
preaching to their own choir with this satire.'"
(((Great job with the budget analysis there; sadly,
Greenpeace is not a for-profit operation. so they get to
throw away money on really weird stuff.)))
"He cited several anti-pollution initiatives that
ExxonMobil is pursuing, such as its collaboration with
Toyota and General Motors on fuel cell technology, which
he said has the potential to greatly reduce auto
emissions. 'Meanwhile, I don't know how many trees this
brochure may have killed,' Cirigliano said. 'The picture I
get is a group of environmentalists sitting around and
putting this out and snickering about it, as if they're
comedy writers on Saturday Night Live. It's sophomoric. In
a way, I'm glad they did it, because it shows just how
shallow they are.'
((("Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous" == Voltaire)))
"Indeed, ExxonMobil has been receiving a slew of
complaints from petroleum analysts and shareholders about
the mailing, and the company is in discussions with
federal, state and local authorities to evaluate any
potential legal remedies against Greenpeace.
((("Making fun without a license"? I wonder how many
trees those lawyers will kill with their legal briefs.)))
"Cirigliano also dismissed the concerns and tactics of
the shareholder pressure groups. 'We've been in contact
with them, and we're disappointed with them,' he said.
'They did this last year. But again, an unbiased look at
our environmental record disputes their assertions.'
"Not surprisingly, Greenpeace begs to differ.
"'It seems that we have struck a raw nerve with
ExxonMobil,' said Greenpeace spokesperson Ben Stewart.
'For starters, the report was published on recycled paper.
Moreover, we're not snickering, because global warming is
not funny. (((Okay, we Viridians will be willing to do
the snickering for everybody. I hope that settles that.)))
"For ExxonMobil to claim that it takes climate change
seriously = now, that's funny. This company is universally
accepted as being the most woeful oil company when it
comes to global warming. They've tried to sabotage every
meaningful effort to tackle climate change, but for them,
the bottom line is all that counts. They should spend less
time feigning indignation over our campaign, and more time
joining the global community in finding ways to tackle
global warming.' (((It's the truth.)))
"Peter Altman, national coordinator, Campaign
ExxonMobil, echoed those remarks. 'We are working to
educate investors about the risk that ExxonMobil faces,'
Altman said 'That's right; the company faces risks and
doesn't just pose them. There are risks for not only the
earth's climate but for the entire oil sector, upstream
and downstream, because governments and industry around
the world recognize the threat that climate change
represents for the environment and also to economies.'
(((There's no question that Exxon-Mobil makes the best
fall-guy for any government, party or movement anywhere
that has been wounded by climate change and is feeling
vengeful and retributive. Not only do they obfuscate,
lie, and greenwash, but they've got a track-record decades
long. Add climate wreckage a couple of oil wars and maybe
a depression to that, and oh my goodness.)))
"He said insurance companies, for example,
increasingly recognize the business risks of global
warming, because it will change water flows, agriculture,
and natural weather cycles, generating enormous insurance
liabilities. He pointed to a report recently issued by
Munich RE, the largest reinsurance company in the world,
which stated that global warming, if left unchecked, would
impose worldwide economic costs of $300 billion per year
"'There is increased potential for severe storms to
wipe out multimillion dollar homes along Florida
beachfront,' Altman pointed out. 'Also, hurricanes
threaten oil platforms and refineries. ExxonMobil is not
investing in alternative energy sources beyond its core
business, so it faces a risk to its bottom line if there's
a major shift to, say, renewable energy. There's already a
pattern around the world where governments are shifting
from fossil fuels to renewable energy; companies like
ExxonMobil could get caught flatfooted.'
"Altman hastened to add that Campaign ExxonMobil
doesn't play any part in Greenpeace's fake annual report.
Greenpeace is engaged in its own campaign, using pressure
tactics with the public against ExxonMobil. Meanwhile,
shareholder and green groups said their complaints against
ExxonMobil aren't a product of their own subjective bias;
they insist that the company is far behind its
competitors, such as Shell, BP and Chevron, which are
investing billions in renewable energy.
"'We don't expect ExxonMobil to get out of the oil
business tomorrow,' Altman said. 'What we want is for the
company to diversify and make investments in renewable
energy, because that would be a sound business decision.
ExxonMobil is not responding to this issue in a way that
would protect long-term shareholder value. The company
needs to come up with strategies."
Climate & Energy Campaign Coordinator
702 H Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 319-2494
Fax: (202) 462-4507
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