FORBES | In the high road of the climate crusade, marked by corporate brochures extolling social responsibility and environmental sustainability, BP was first past the post among the big oil majors. Its legendary then-CEO John Browne – now Lord Browne — had declared in a speech at Stanford University in 2002 that “We need to reinvent the energy business. We need to go beyond petroleum”. With hindsight, it may seem that BP’s $200 million re-branding exercise heralded the onset of the cultural revolution by rejecting not just the demonized fossil fuel in its hitherto marquee name but also the ‘British” qualifier, which now stands among the chattering class as a signifier of nationalism and xenophobia.
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