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According to Esty and Wilson’s Green to Gold strategy, companies can only be seen as environmentally friendly if they are truly environmentally friendly and not involved in a bogus campaign. They, therefore, should not rank BP as a green Wave Rider, since, in fact, the BP is just a company exceptionally skilled in vigorous public relations. Ninety nine percent of BP’s profits come from selling fuel to consumers. Just like any other profit-maximizing company, BP seeks to protect its main revenue earner, i.e. the sale of fossil fuels. In 2005, BP took a stand and lobbied against a vital environmental proposal that was to be debated in the US Congress. This proposal sought to put a ceiling on carbon dioxide emissions by companies. However, BP lobbied strongly against this proposal. It then supported a weaker proposal under which companies would only cut their carbon dioxide emissions if they were promised tax breaks by the government.
In 2007, BP was exempted by the environmental protection agency from what BP termed as a ‘highly restrictive law’. This allowed its Whiting facility in Indiana to release greater quantities if ammonia and mercury into Lake Michigan. This was supposedly done so that BP could be able to refine the crude oil coming from Canadian tar sands (Michael Hawthorne 2).
This drew a lot of criticism from environmentalists and even residents dwelling in the region of Indiana. The company, therefore, promised to keep the old water pollution limits recommended by the law. However, BP had a pending state permit of approximately 3.8 billion US dollars. This was to enable it to expand its Whiting facility. (Stan Cox 3).
This led critics to be particularly skeptical about the increased water and air pollution that would come about from the increased capacity of this facility. BP, however, claimed that with the increased capacity of its Whiting facility it would be somehow able to reduce its net carbon emissions. On the other hand, several reports claim that there would be a substantial increase in sulfur dioxide and particulate matter emissions. Therefore, contrary to Estys and Wilson’s book, BP should not be listed among the top environmentally friendly companies, since only a meager 1% of their functions is environmentally friendly.
Eco-defined new market
In Green to Gold strategy 7, Wave Rider companies should come up with value-added innovations. A company such as Toyota foresaw the Green Wave coming and thus came up with “Prius”, an energy efficient vehicle. Being an environmentally friendly innovation, this hybrid vehicle also increased profits and shareholders’ value. According to Esty and Wilson, such value-added innovations may not be what the public perceives them to be in life.
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Esty and Wilson only took into account the fuel efficiency of the Prius. However, they should have looked at the total amount of energy used up in building and operating the vehicle. Most environmentally conscious consumers love this car for its unparalleled gas mileage of 50 miles per gallon in city/highway combined. However, research carried out showed that the Prius is not as eco-friendly as it was thought to be in the beginning. This Toyota vehicle, like most other hybrids, makes use of two engines. The first is a 76 horsepower petrol-powered plant. The second is battery-powered which puts out 67 additional horses. Canadian environmentalists add that most of the petrol on a Toyota Prius is used up when the car accelerates from 0 to 30. The nickel in the battery is mined in Sudbury Ontario. It is then smelted in a Nickel Centre which is northward to Georgian Bay.
According to statistics, Toyota purchases about 1000 tones of nickel annually. This nickel is refined in Wales and then taken to China where it is turned to nickel foam. The foam is taken to Toyota’s facility for the manufacture of batteries in Japan. This movement of the nickel around the world leaves a trail of carbon emissions which should be considered seriously by environmentalists who support the Prius. This is also taking into account the massive puffs of sulfur dioxide spewed by the Sudbury mine and smelter facility. A study released recently has calculated the entire amount of energy used to plan, make, market, sell, drive and dispose of a vehicle. This included hundreds of other variables, such as distances driven and electricity consumption per pound of construction material. The Prius was found to have an average of $3.25 per mile over its supposed lifespan of 100,000 miles.
This was compared to the Hummer, which ironically has $1.95 over 300,000 miles lifespan. This, therefore, proved that the Prius was not as environmentally friendly as was previously believed. The green Wave Riders strategies are a vital find for those who are seeking a comparative advantage in their industries. However, more research should be done into the findings of Esty and Wilson to come up with a perfect environmentally friendly decision to give the company a comparative advantage.
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