The President’s Climate Commitment requires LIFE to make sustainability a part of the curriculum for all students. A great example of LIFE fulfilling its commitment is in Wanda Benjamin’s Ethics in Business and Technology (BSN 201) class. Students in this class were asked to read and comment on a case study titled “BP (Beyond Petroleum) Focuses on Sustainability.” I have included responses from some of LIFE’s future business leaders.
“BP (Beyond Petroleum) Focuses on Sustainability”
The case study provided a history of the company, delves into controversies regarding business practices, environmental damage and hazards to workers. The article also talks about BP’s efforts to improve its image and manage decisions related to ethics and social responsibility.
After reading the case study the students were asked to propose solutions to BP’s dilemmas and to give a rationale for their recommendations. Joy Weaver, summed up the assignment with this question. “Prior to the oil spill, BP was doing a great job at improving its image and the impacts of these efforts were being felt everywhere. So what should BP do now seeing as its image is back for public scrutiny again?
Here is what some of the students had to say……
- “Having a department or outside party inspect to verify upkeep and maintenance is being followed [will] help ensure that employees are accountable and do not neglect or ignore early signs. Transparency will [ensure] that the company is really trying to redeem themselves and have nothing to hide.” Benita Jackson
- “Good publicity is only going to help BP as they strive for a new image and continue to become environmentally friendly. It also helps out all the stakeholders as well. Good media shows the stakeholders that what they are invested in is improving the world and not destroying it.” Ben Mateialona
- “I think that BP’s efforts on renewable energy as well as its establishing a Code of Conduct are the first steps in the right direction. It is very hard for a company whose main business is drilling and extraction of fuel to truly gain a totally positive view from consumers; however its efforts to educate people on going green will greatly help.” Megan Page
- “It just seems to me that BP has repeated the same mistake time and time again for instance, “The twenty-first century found stakeholders more wary of companies, especially after decades of repeated violations and misconduct on the part of the oil industry.” …..So it seems apparent to me that if they just retrain their organization to abide more ethically by the leadership of upper executives that BP can prove to be sustainable.” De’Aires Peterson
- “Upper Management should lead their employees by setting an example and making ethical decisions at all times. Peter F. Druker says, “Management is doing things right and leadership is doing the right thing.” BP should continue to show environmental stewardship and continue to make society more sustainable. BP should have a plan in place to fix oil leaks and they should act with a [sense] of urgency. BP should always make their stakeholders their first priority.” Christina Thornton
- Community presence, BP should not just commit to the occurrence of future problems but create a sense of belonging within the communities where it has the drilling sites. Just like it did during its inception in founding a hospital, Abaden, for its employees, BP should look for more opportunities to work with the local communities.” Joy Weaver
The Office of Sustainability would like to thank Wanda Benjamin and the entire class for their hard work and for allowing their work to be shared with our readers. Personally I was impressed and enlightened by their responses. What a great way to incorporate sustainability into the classroom!