The 10 Worst Corporations of 2005

The 10 Worst Corporations of 2005

And sure enough, ExxonMobil is there!

ExxonMobil has funded dozens of front groups, think tanks, industry associations, corporate-friendly research centers and purportedly independent scientists to spread its denialism. Greenpeace has documented the company’s support for a web of more than 100 organizations — from the American Council on Science and Health to the Washington Legal Foundation — that work to cast doubt on global warming science and likely consequences.

It hasn’t hurt ExxonMobil to have a (failed) oilman and the former head of Halliburton, an oil services company, as president and vice president of the richest, most powerful and biggest greenhouse-gas-emitting country, the United States. The company was not without influence during the Clinton administration, but has been able to gain complete access and shape policy during the Bush era, in ways large and small.

I’ve never been happier to actually own stock in this company.

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3 Responses to The 10 Worst Corporations of 2005

  1. Jeff says:

    I am admittedly a little biased here, since several of my family or extended family worked for Exxon for a long time. However, I’d just like to point out a couple of things that I hope will make XOM stockholders a little less ashamed. First, ExxonMobil has one of the most generous charitable matching programs in corporate America. Any employee (or even retiree) contribution — up to $7500 a year — to any institute of higher learning is matched by the company at a ratio of 3:1. So, for example if someone who is working for XOM (or retired from XOM 20 years ago) donates $5000 to his or her alma mater, then XOM will donate an additional $15,000. The only strings attached to such gifts is that they not be designated to go to a particular person, and I think also that it can’t go to athletics.

    Also, among the programs that XOM sponsors is one that I have personally benefited from called Project NExT http://archives.math.utk.edu/projnext/. This is a program that gathers recent mathematics Ph.D.’s together for conferences aimed at improving the teaching of mathematics. It also involves a mentoring program and the preservation of a sense of community mainly via e-mail distribution lists. I attended many excellent sessions through my participation, and I am a better educator because of it. Not once were we ever addressed by a representative from the company except when he thanked us for our work. And no, there were no sessions on fake environmental modeling.

    Also, while it is certainly true that the very wealthy benefit a lot when companies like XOM do well, it is also true that _all_ stockholders benefit a little. This is true even for people that don’t have a lot of stock, and includes many mutual fund owners — people with 401k’s, 529 plans, IRA’s, etc.

    Finally, the choice of words in the link that Dave gives like “obscene profits” (or something equivalent) is irritating in its sanctimony. XOM, like all corporations, is in business to make money, and that is what people who buy stock and or mutual funds are counting on. If it’s so troubling that they make a lot of money, then find some companies whose goal is to only make seemly amounts of money. (There are, by the way, “socially conscious” mutual funds out there that apply some kind of social responsibility criteria to their holdings.)

    And really finally, I think that the blame for the effectiveness of lobbying efforts is misplaced (though not the blame for supporting questionable science). The influence of companies like XOM in our government will end the second we elect leaders to end it.

    Next up: clubbing baby seals provides great cardio workout!

    Let the beating up begin…

  2. Dave says:

    In all honesty I should point out that ExxonMobil stock paid for me to go to college.

    However, it was LSU, so the joke was on them.