The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Strategic CSR - Exxon

In a wonderful example of irony, the article in the url below reports that Rex Tillerson (CEO of Exxon Mobil) has joined a lawsuit in his local community complaining about the inconveniences of fracking:
 
“One evening last November, a tall, white-haired man turned up at a Town Council meeting to protest construction of a water tower near his home in this wealthy community outside Dallas. The man was Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp. He and his neighbors had filed suit to block the tower, saying it is illegal and would create ‘a noise nuisance and traffic hazards,’ in part because it would provide water for use in hydraulic fracturing.”
 
As the article notes:
 
“Fracking, which requires heavy trucks to haul and pump massive amounts of water, unlocks oil and gas from dense rock and has helped touch off a surge in U.S. energy output. It also is a core part of Exxon’s business.”
 
Tillerson’s lawyer stresses that, while the Exxon CEO has joined the case, he is not concerned about the noise or traffic problems that are associated with increased drilling activity:
 
“Mr. Tillerson's primary concern is that his property value would be harmed.”
 
Of course, why would his property value potentially be harmed? Well, one reason, no doubt, is the increased noice and traffic that accompany fracking activity. Apparently, Mr. Tillerson is quite keen to win the case:
 
“The tower would be almost 15 stories tall, adjacent to the 83-acre horse ranch Mr. Tillerson and his wife own and a short distance from their 18-acre homestead. Mr. Tillerson sat for a three-hour deposition in the lawsuit last May, attended an all-day mediation session in September and has spoken out against the tower during at least two Town Council meetings, according to public records and people involved with the case.”
 
While we all might think that Tillerson should have better things to do with this time (like run a multinational energy company), I am sure we can feel confident that his experience with this case will ensure he has greater sympathy for residents elsewhere who might raise similar issues in complaint against Exxon’s fracking activity. After all, as he noted in one of his appearances before the Council:
 
“Allowing the tower in defiance of town ordinances could open the door to runaway development and might prompt him to leave town, Mr. Tillerson told the council. ‘I cannot stay in a place,’ he said, ‘where I do not know who to count on and who not to count on.’”
 
Have a good weekend
David
 
David Chandler & Bill Werther
 
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Exxon Chief Joins Lawsuit Raising Ruckus Over Fracking
By Daniel Gilbert
February 21, 2014
The Wall Street Journal
Late Edition – Final
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