1990 Imperial Oil Presentation: Running a Green Business

This 1990 document from Imperial Oil Ltd, the Canadian subsidiary of Exxon, is a presentation on “Running a Green Business: A Balance of Environmental and Economic Priorities” given by Douglas Baldwin, President and CEO of Esso Resources Canada Limited. The presentation was given to the Canadian Gas Association Marketing Conference in Calgary, Alberta on October 22, 1990. This document is part of the ClimateFiles Imperial Oil document set, gleaned by DeSmog researchers from the Glenbow Imperial Oil Archive Collection.

The speech offers many insights into the priorities of the North American oil industry in the 1990s, including their desire to “claim a seat at the policy development table as governments take steps to legislate a greener future…all levels of decision-makers, from the United Nations to community associations.” Exxon and its affiliates did play, and continue to play, an outsized role in the development of climate and environmental policy both through outright lobbying and through funding front-groups like the Global Climate Coalition.  

Throughout the speech, Baldwin echoes many common refrains of the oil industry, including encouraging consumers to “make rational choices, not emotional ones” when it comes to choosing energy providers and sources, and arguing that “if the environmental end…becomes too heavy, we risk losing our international competitiveness and the economic means to achieve our environmental goals.”
Baldwin’s presentation also references Canada’s new Green Plan; Imperial Oil Limited’s official response to the Green Plan can be found here.

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