The ExxonMobil Corporation is one of the biggest

The
ExxonMobil Corporation is one of the biggest multinational oil and gas
corporation in the world. Founded on November 30th 1999 with its
headquarters based in Irving, Texas the ExxonMobile Corporation is the largest
descendant of John Rockefeller oil empire. It was formed after a merger of the
standard oil company of New Jersey, also known as Exxon, and the standard oil company
of New York, which was known as Mobil (Hasemyer, 2015). The ExxonMobil
Corporation has a very detailed organizational structure that features a well-documented
code of ethics and business conduct. The ethic’s policy defined by the ExxonMobil
Corporation are simply to comply with all the government laws, rules and
regulations. Even though the ExxonMobil Corporation is successful, it is not
however immune to controversies. The most notable instance being the Exxon Knew
campaign and alleged human rights violation in Indonesia. According to the
official social media account of ExxonMobil, the campaign was understood as a
move to discredit the company and its effort. The Exxon Knew campaign, which
was globally known as #ExxonKnew, was a social media phenomenon created by
environmentalists group that called on ExxonMobil to take responsibility on the
ensuing climate change.

As
mentioned earlier, ExxonMobil has been embroiled in a number of controversies
most of which are centered on climate issues. Over the years the company has been
charged for manipulating public opinion and covering its impact on climate
change. Research that has been conducted by various environmental organizations
has shown that ExxonMobil is one of the top greenhouses emitters to the
environment. As a matter of fact, The ExxonMobil Corporation has had a peculiar
approach to climate change. From the early 1970’s, ExxonMobil has funded
numerous activities that included research, lobbying, advertising, and grant founding,
which were later revealed as efforts to purposely delay the widespread
acceptance and action on global warming by the industry leader (Friedman,
2007).

These
efforts lead to what is now known as climate change denial. In the early 1980’s
the ExxonMobil is to have said to have funded organizations which were critical
to the Kyoto Protocol and which were meant to derail the public from the
opinion that the burning of fossil fuels was responsible for the large
emissions of greenhouses gases. They went further by enlisting selected
researchers that included academic collaborators who conducted their own research
and then went on publishing their original research papers supporting climate
change denial (Farrell, 2015). Even though there were reportedly
few scientists working at Exxon who were able to realize the effects of burning
fossil fuels into the environment, their comments were not taken into keen by
the executives of the company (Hasemyer, 2015). One such document
was produced by ExxonMobil’s researcher known by the name of Black who at the
time was a senior scientist in the Research and Engineering department. It is
said that Black openly questioned that burning of fuels to the environment had
low impact and addressed this concern to the company’s executives.
Unfortunately, his alarming voice was met without success.

In
modern times, there have been many advancements in the industry and particularly
in the technological area. There is a wide acceptance on the unwinding effects that
have been caused by global warming as a direct resultant of human activities such
as the burning of fossil fuels. There has been a positive information output
that has been attributed to the rise and the emergence of social media. In
recent years, social media has put ExxonMobil and other industry leaders in the
spotlight and prompted such firms to be accountable (Schwartz, 2016).
In example, the popular hashtag #ExxonKnew sparked and fueled conversations
around ExxonMobil activities on multiple social platforms. Through the rise of
social media many lobby groups were able to document the misdeeds that were
staple in the ExxonMobil Corporation. One such incident is document by the
events that unfolded in 2016. In 2016, two independent researchers from Harvard
were able to review nearly 200 documents and public statements that were
entirely based on the organizations research on climate change. The team of
independent researchers found ExxonMobil Corporation to be capable for
misleading the public on the effects of global warming. The research was
conducted 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 first
published in the Environmental Research Letters and later published in the New
York Time. It was the latter publication that gathered all the media attention
creating a movement that sought for the ExxonMobil Corporation to take
responsibility for climate change. These in turn led to trickle down effects
that were marked by numerous court battles and confrontations between the
corporate giant and environmental lobbyists. One particular issue that was raised
in the subsequent conversations after the reveal by the New York Times
newspaper was the fact that the ExxonMobil Corporation was aware of the rising
amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and was aware that the emission of
carbon dioxide into the atmosphere was a likely prospect to cause global
warming (Song, 2015). It was due to these revelations that the global
trend #ExxonKnew was raised online. These sentiments are further supported by
the fact that in the year 1982, an internal report was released to the ExxonMobil
management that highlighted the consequences of climate change which could in
the long run have a catastrophic effect and that if allowed to continue, it
would have an irreversible effect to the environment. The report further stated
that the ExxonMobil Corporation opted to formulate a climate model and reduce
on fossil consumption. The study from the research was seen not to be acted
upon and the research were relatively unknown to the public opinion due to its
confidentiality.

The
move by the ExxonMobil Corporation to promote climate change denial in the
1970’s through to the 1990’s can be compared by the move by the Big Tobacco
Corporation to keep the relation between tobacco and cancer under wraps.
However, numerous advancements in the various fields over the years have put
the truth on such issues on the limelight. Various publishers and social media
have played the major role to ensure that the mass public is made aware of such
issues that often affect the population in a long run (Farrell, 2015).
Followed by the media expose, ExxonMobil has been put under scrutiny as clearly
shown through the various legal battles and social media campaigns such as the
#ExxonMobil campaign. The aftermath of the revelations has seen the ExxonMobil
Corporation undergo changes in their organizational structure. The Corporation
tried to reduce the damage that was caused by the article published by the New
York Times by issuing a statement that clarified the position of the big oil
company on climate change (Song, 2015). Even though the ExxonMobil
Corporation have somehow managed to sail through the legal process without
having a major dent in its financial and operational capacity, they have
endured charges over conspiracy. What’s more, the consequences of ExxonMobil
scandal were seen in the internal wrangles between the executives and the
shareholders. More than two thirds of the firm’s shareholders passed a motion
in which it required the ExxonMobil Corporation to annually produce a climate
change report, which was in contrast to the executive’s wishes. Nevertheless,
the firm has since taken actions to clean up its name by employing several environmentalists
into its board to regain the public trust.

Another
well-known ethical issue faced by ExxonMobil is human rights violation in
Indonesia. Members of military units that provided security for their gas extraction and
liquefaction project in Aceh are said to abuse local villagers. The villagers
accused them of murder, torture and other types of abuse. The company did not
want to take liability for these accusations by explaining that these actions were
never a result of specific intention. However, a federal appeals court stated
that Exxon Mobil was not immune from responsibility (Stempel, 2011).  Once again, ExxonMobile
found itself under international scrutiny. In 2015 federal court decided that
the case may procced in US court because the claims sufficiently “touch and
concern” the United States. Although the lawsuit is still in progress, there is
hard evidence of unethical practices that prevailed in the company.

In
conclusion, ExxonMobil is a global oil empire that has gained international
media attention due to its poor ethical compliancy. Taking into account number
of unethical cases raised by researchers, independent organizations and public
opinion, it is clear that Exxon Mobile could had improved its conduct a while
ago. Sadly, the executive board seemed to focus on ensuring their profits and
paying off dividends rather than large scale environmental impact caused by the
Corporation’s activities. Nonetheless, the PR damage caused by media reveal
forced shareholders and management to pay more attention to public opinion and
rebuilding its reputation as trustworthy business. Regaining this trust may be
a long and difficult process considering the number of organizations that are
closely observing activities of the company, but since there are so many
vigilant observers watching, we should hope that these practices are going to
be eradicated and environmental focused agenda will replace abuse, lies and
Earth damaging pursuits.