In what could be a throwback to the 1990s, the National Journal just broke that British Petroleum (BP) has quit the American Legislative Exchange Council today, saying ALEC membership was not needed to pursue its interests.
"We continually assess our engagements with policy and advocacy organizations and based on our most recent assessment, we have determined that we can effectively pursue policy matters of current interest to BP without renewing our membership in ALEC," the spokesman said.
BP was not specific about what triggered this move. Shell and others have been under increased pressure since Google left ALEC in a hurry last September as a result of ALEC's climate change stance.
While BP is far from a green company and is not even greenwashing itself like it was in the "Beyond Petroleum" days, this reminds some climate policy observers of the late 1990s corporate defections from the Global Climate Coalition, when companies were no longer denying the urgency of climate change nor the scientific consensus underpinning that urgency.
As Lester Brown writes in his essay "The Rise and Fall of the Global Climate Coalition", BP left the GCC in 1997 after CEO Sir John Browne's famous speech on climate change at Stanford. Dupont departed even earlier. Then, Shell jumped ship in 1998 and soon companies couldn't leave fast enough, as Ross Gelbspan recaps here:
"Between December, 1999 and early March, 2000, the GCC was deserted by Ford, Daimler-Chrysler, Texaco, the Southern Company and General Motors. While many of the defecting companies said their anti-Kyoto posture had not changed, this was a major blow to a 10-year campaign by oil, coal and automotive interests to prevent public action to address the climate crisis."
We have detailed ALEC's CLIMATE DENIAL history in this Climate Investigations Center blog.
Big Companies Have Left ALEC
How important is it for ALEC to lose membership of large companies? Climate Investigations Center has compiled a table of the companies who have left ALEC since 2012.
Twenty three companies in the Fortune 500 top 50 have left ALEC since 2012. (BP is not in the Fortune 500 of U.S. Companies)
Ranked by Market Cap, the results are even more stunning. The total Market Cap of the companies that have left ALEC in recent years is over $7.25 Trillion (trillion with a T) The biggest company that is still an ALEC member is ExxonMobil with a current Market Cap of $355 Billion.
These tables with sources are available for reporters, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Big Companies that have left ALEC 2012-2015|
23 of the top 50 companies in the Fortune 500 have left ALEC since 2012...
just 13 of top 50 Fortune 500 remain ALEC members, down from 36
|Companies in Bold below have left ALEC|
|Fortune 500 Rank|
|6||Phillips 66 (spun off from ConocoPhillips 2012)||out|
|8||Ford Motor||was member 1999|
|10||Valero Energy||not a member|
|18||J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.||not|
|20||Express Scripts Holding||out|
|21||Bank of America||out|
|27||Archer Daniels Midland||member in 2003|
|30||Boeing||member in 1998|
|31||Procter & Gamble||out|
|39||Johnson & Johnson||out|
|40||American International Group||not|
|41||State Farm Insurance Cos.||in|
|49||Caterpillar||funder, not member|
|50||United Parcel Service||in|
|Corp That Have Left ALEC since 2012||Market Cap Dec 2 2014 (billion $)||Fortune 500 rank|
|Berkshire Hathaway Energy||$366.86||4|
|Johnson & Johnson||$302.58||39|
|General Electric (GE)||$261.15||9|
|Roche Diagnostics Corporation||$250.84|
|Procter & Gamble||$243.00||31|
|Nestlé USA Inc.||$241.70|
|Bank of America||$177.30||21|
|Home Depot, Inc.||$130.04||33|
|Union Pacific Corporation||$103.48|
|Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals||$96.96|
|Lowe's Companies, Inc.||$61.68|
|General Motors (GM)||$52.70|
|Emerson Electric Co||$43.70|
|Reckitt Benckiser Group||$37.93|
|John Deere & Company||$31.97|
|The Pacific Gas and Electric||$24.13|
|Dr Pepper Snapple Group,||$14.30|
|MillerCoors (Molson Coors)||$14.09|
|Publix Super Markets||$11.46|
|Blue Cross Blue Shield||private|
|TOTAL MARKET CAP||$7,253.91|