Is every day earth day?


We were just wondering – if today is Earth day, what are the other 364 days?

We don’t make a huge deal of the day for that reason – even though we put the planet’s name in our company identity.

Today, we actually just want to bring up the 3-year-old Macondo Well, a.k.a. Gulf oil spill, a.k.a. BP oil spill, a.k.a. Deepwater Horizon.  And we bring it up in terms of long-term effects.  Not the long-term effects of the oil itself (although that’s critically important) but the long-term effects on the company, the employer, the entity known as BP.

Today we saw the results of a poll which shows that three years out, after spending over US$100M on advertising (and of course US$42B on the cleanup and spills), BP’s image is still tarnished.  Click here to read about that poll and see its details.

For those of you who followed our comments at the time or have seen our talks, or who have read our book, you know that we focus on the PROJECT aspects of the well and its turn up.  Key in our mind is that the risk register for Macondo (BP’s well, within the Deepwater Horizon platform owned by Transocean) included precisely zero safety or environmental risks.  All of the threats identified had to do with operations and efficiency. This is public information because of the Federal US investigation into the disaster.  Don’t believe us?  Just check out the actual risk register right here.  And the company had just introduced an incentive plan for managers which rewarded them significantly for efficiency and moneymaking but not at all for any safety or sustainability measures.

And so, here on Earth, where we see projects often managed and measured in that way, we have continued to plug (excuse the pun) for sustainability and long-term thinking in project planning, perhaps even redefining what is meant by success.

After 3 years, scores of billions of dollars spent, damaged ecosystems, poor morale, and a tarnished reputation, is that success?  Not here.  Not on Earth.  Maybe on one of those other 364 planets…

Happy Earth Day, everyone!