Financial Times FT.com

BP’s reputation at all-time low

By Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent

Published: June 3 2010 02:46 | Last updated: June 3 2010 02:46

As the oil spill drags into its second month with no end in sight, BP’s share price is not the only casualty. The company’s reputation is plumbing an all-time low, in the US and internationally.

According to Covalence, an organisation that tracks the ethical reputation of large companies, BP’s standing has fallen off a cliff as the spill has progressed without a resolution.

The company awarded BP a grade E, its lowest, in a ranking used by some ethical investors.

Covalence said BP was performing poorly mostly for the impact of its oil spill, but that other factors including working conditions were also deteriorating.

A spate of protests is planned for this weekend, aimed at drawing further attention to the crisis.

Conservation groups have also highlighted the plight of endangered species in the Gulf of Mexico that could be severely damaged or even wiped out by the impacts of the spill. These include the Kemp’s Ridley turtle, which only nests in the western Gulf of Mexico, and one of whose main feeding grounds is in the area of the oil spill, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The species is critically endangered, the highest degree of threat on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, the authority on endangered animals.

Simon Middleton, a brand adviser, said the spill had severely dented BP’s attempts to make its brand more attractive to consumers: “[The oil spill] makes a mockery of BP’s attempts over the last few years to give itself a green image. President Obama is right to treat it as a national emergency for the USA and right to come down hard on BP.”

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