Monday, February 26, 2007

Steps forward

Earlier this month, BP announced its academic partners in an innovative new research program. The University of California, Berkeley, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will collectively receive $500 million over ten years to implement an Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI). The institute will research new methods and new applications of biological sciences in the energy sector.
EBI will primarily pursue clean new fuels for road transport, using advances in crop sciences. The application of this research will reduce US dependence on foreign oil, reduce carbon emissions, and will expand markets for US agricultural products.
BP has been advancing toward a more sustainable business model for several years. In 2000, as part of the reorganization associated with its 1998 takeover of Amoco, the firm began the highly-visible evolution of its brand identity into “Beyond Petroleum”. This new moniker is emblematic of an important change. The firm has recognized that its core technology, its core function, petroleum extraction and refining, are real problems.
Instead of remaining an ecological neigh-sayer and putting short-term profits ahead of social responsibility, BP is pursuing a sustainable future. Their business model has climbed a rung on the ladder from “oil company” to the much broader “energy company”. In so doing, they have declared their intent to make an honest dollar. BP’s Energy Biosciences Institute is a tangible step in that direction.
While it remains important to use energy efficiently and responsibly, consider supporting BP’s efforts, as a consumer.

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