CSR reporting following corporate crisis

RQ: How do companies respond to crisis situations in their corporate documents?


Employment practices: Working conditions in warehouses, e.g. JD Sports – Channel 4 documentary reveals over 140 workers taken to hospital; Sports Direct – below minimum wage payments; daily, unpaid security checks

Environmental pollution: BHP Billiton and Vale – in November/December 2015, millions of tonnes of toxic mud leaks into the Atlantic ocean after the bursting of two mining dams; BP oil spill; Shell – Decommissioning of the Brent Spa oil tank

Supply chain: child labour, pollution, slavery

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1.0 Introduction
On the night of April 20, 2010, 126 workers were aboard Deepwater Horizon, a semi-submersible Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU). Deepwater Horizon was owned and operated by the Switzerland-based Transocean Ltd., but leased to the London-based oil and gas multinational, BP Plc. The oil rig was about 50 miles offshore of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico when an explosion ripped through the platform and sparked a fire that burned continuously for about 36 hours. Initial recovery efforts on the night of the explosion resulted in 98 people being evacuated from the rig unharmed and a further 17 injured workers evacuated and taken to various hospitals for treatment. However, 11 workers were reported missing and they would later be confirmed dead after the offshore oil rig finally sank on April 22, 2010 after burning for nearly two days (EPA, (2017).
The deaths of 11 workers was already bad enough for BP especially as news that the disaster could have been prevented began to emerge. The environmental disaster that followed however, caused the most damage to BP in terms of public image. It resulted in a public relations nightmare for the company and ended up costing it billions of dollars. Apparently, BP’s entrenched practice of ‘cutting corners’ when constructing offshore oil wells is what led to the disaster (Meigs, 2016), thus it could have been prevented if the company had done the ‘right thing’. Meigs (2016) asserts that BP’s executives made a series of public relations gaffes trying to downplay the magnitude of the oil spill. Additionally, the company tried to portray the image that the problem would be resolved in no time yet it dragged on for nearly four months....

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