The picture (above) is of the BP Oil Rig before it caught fire and led to the largest oil spill in history. The dispersant used to clean the spill (Corexit) was and still is considered toxic and illegal in Europe. However, the EPA has not banned Corexit in the United States. When it comes to the environment and direct stakeholders, which standard applies?

Watch the videos below and be prepared to answer the following questions about the case you will read:

  1. Should BP have used the more stringent standard in the interest of safety? 
  2. Discuss the ethical implications of sacrificing safety for shareholder value.
  3. If the highest degree of regulations should be applied to public safety, describe what happens when laissez-faire politics leads to corporate regulations that are “rolled back”?
  4. Describe what might have happened differently if BP had been a Social Purpose Corporation.
  5. Where would you place BP’s response to the oil spill on “The Virtue Matrix” quadrants? Explain.

Learn about the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster

The Oil Spill By The Numbers | TIME

Profit Pollution and Deception BP and the Oil Spill | BBC Documentary

A look at the Gulf oil spill after the cameras had gone | PBS News Hour