A U.K.-Based Incentive company is taking a stand by refusing to do business with a company that it believes contributes to global warming.
Tim Waygood, managing director of Hertfordshire-based The MotivAction Group plc, announced that his company would not do business with ExxonMobil Corp. because of its role in attempts to “undermine the scientific consensus on climate change.” This evolved from a statement last year from Britain's leading scientific academy, the Royal Society, that accused the oil giant and others of making “inaccurate and misleading” statements on global warming.
After an inquiry from ExxonMobil about running an event, Waygood wrote the company an e-mail stating, “We arrange all sorts of events that could fit your needs. However, as a company we are very concerned about climate change … and we are aware of evidence that ExxonMobil is funding climate change deniers. Given that this is the case, it would not be appropriate for us to work with a company whose ethics are so opposed to ours.”
In his blog, Waygood writes that he is taking a stand on ExxonMobil in particular because it “is the only major oil company that denies the urgency of global warming and funds global warming skeptics that cloud the facts and create a debate where there isn't one.”
The MotivAction Group has yet to receive a response from ExxonMobil regarding its e-mail. But when contacted by Corporate Meetings & Incentives regarding the decision, Dave Gardner, a spokesman for ExxonMobil, issued a statement saying, “Our position is clear; we agree that climate change is a serious issue. … We are taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our own operations, promoting research into technologies that will reduce emissions that result from the use of our products, promoting research into technology necessary to develop reduced carbon energy for society, and participating in discussions with policy makers on evaluating options to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.”
Waygood, who has never previously refused to work with a client based on environmental principles, says that this decision was an easy one. Now he is calling on competitors to take a stand when it comes to environmental issues, as is Brenda Anderson, CEO of the Chicago-based Society of Incentive and Travel Executives. “Corporate social responsibility is a very big issue right now, not just in Europe, but in the U.S. and Mexico as well. More and more companies are beginning to recognize that the decisions that they make affect more than just the bottom line.”
Anderson commends Waygood for his “bold move” in turning down such a large piece of business in an economy in which companies have had to aggressively pursue new business to stay afloat. “You don't often hear about companies turning down business these days. We haven't been in that kind of climate, which makes this a very interesting choice by MotivAction,” she says.
This decision represents “a real shift in awareness right now regarding how we affect the environment,” she adds. “I think we are going to see more of these types of actions in the future.”