Worldwide consumption of energy is expected to increase 1.2 percent annually during the next two decades from its 2010 base. This projects an era of steady growth for energy companies whose sales have been hampered by recession. Yet there are many challenges ahead for the industry and its companies: how to successfully and safely operate in deep water and remote areas of the world; bring to market the right mix of oil, natural gas and renewable energy; promote and improve energy efficiency for customers; and respond to the demands posed by worldwide population growth and the threats of global warming.
While the specific challenges vary across segments of the industry, energy companies commonly face public doubts about what they say, concerns over how they operate, and, in many nations, distrust over their role in policy-making and their response to environmental challenges.
Almost every energy company has the potential to profit in the next decade. But energy companies will need to better manage their reputations and improve them to attract top technical talent, retain current customers and win new ones, secure government concessions, engage business partners and differentiate themselves in a crowded global marketplace.
BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf crippled its reputation and the reputation of the entire industry (down 40 percent in public approval in the U.S. since the spill). Meanwhile, as concerns over global warming intensify, politicians along with industry groups (both pro and con), are debating cap and trade, energy tax legislation and numerous policies to reduce energy consumption and emissions.
This report examines the reputation of the energy industry, focusing largely on the fossil fuel sector, but with attention also given to the renewable space. Amidst a cornucopia of opportunities and risks, energy companies (and their investors and followers) need facts on where the industry’s image stands, which companies have winning and losing reputations, and which factors can help drive reputational repair in the short term and improvement in the long term.
These are just a few subjects addressed in the Energy Industry Reputation Report prepared by the Reputation Institute, a global corporate reputation research and advisory services firm. Drawing on an annual survey of more than 30,000 consumers in 32 countries and informed by industry analyses and interviews with leading industry executives and thought leaders, this evidence-based report profiles the overall reputation of the industry and details what drives the energy industry’s reputation in the public’s mind. It also delves into the industry’s future and takes a close look at the reputational issues of companies with investments in renewables.
Between 2006 and 2010, the energy industry’s reputation among the world’s public improved significantly (from 60.52 to 64.96). In some nations (Brazil, Spain, Norway and India) industry players in 2010 were given especially high marks. In others (the U.S., China, Australia and Sweden), energy companies were rated lower. There is considerable variation in the reputation of oil and gas companies operating within a nation.