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Susanne van de Wateringen

The Greening of Black Gold – Towards International Environmental Alignment in the Petroleum Industry

A multitude of environmental issues confront the petroleum industry. Publicised examples range from the topic of climate change to the building of pipelines in politically unstable countries. They illustrate the huge controversy surrounding environmental management in the petroleum industry: Should environmental management necessarily lead to the end of fossil fuel usage? How broad should the scope of corporate responsibility be? Do environmental management activities only reflect public relations efforts or are they becoming embedded? What is the linkage to the general strategic and structural characteristics of companies?

In reality, still very little is known about the internal process of corporate greening. Introducing the concept of ‘International Environmental Alignment’, this thesis examines the embedding of environmental management in the overall management of multinational corporations. For the period 1990-2002, it gives an overview of the trends in environmental strategy and environmental structure for the petroleum sector. The thesis provides deeper insights into companies’ seemingly similar positions, and their linkages to developments in general strategy, structure and reputation. The results show that factors such as reputation, the degree of internationalisation, degree of centralisation and cooperative arrangements all influence the Greening of Black Gold.

Supervisor: prof. dr. Kolk