Corporate Eye

ExxonMobil: reflecting on industry issues

You’ll have seen the news over the weekend that ExxonMobil have called for a carbon tax to tackle global warming … interesting, isn’t it?

So what changes have they made on the website to reflect this change of heart?


Impressively, there are not one but two items about this on the site home page – a press release, and a direct link to the speech transcript in the focus area at the top of the page. This demonstrates the importance of this news, both to the company itself, and to the wider community.

We believe that corporate websites should be reflecting the issues that are facing us at the moment:

  • demonstrating that the company is considering the issues
  • and mirroring the issues, refracted through the different stakeholder areas, to communicate with the people affected by those issues.

This speech (and speedy update of the website) demonstrates that ExxonMobil are deeply considering the best way forward in the current global warming crisis. Whether or not you agree with their strategy, it can’t be denied that they are thinking about it, and are prepared to change their minds in the light of new information.

And from our point of view, the high profile placement of this on the corporate website – and the speed with which it was done – is exactly right, indicating the importance that ExxonMobil place on this issue, and keeping all stakeholders informed.

Philip Morris

Another corporate website that has expertly handled a significant change in the industry is the Philip Morris site. We all know about the difficulties the tobacco industry has faced over the last few decades, yet the Philip Morris site faces these difficulties squarely. Their home page is almost completely devoted to information about health issues, stopping smoking, persuading children not to smoke, and the Settlement Agreement.

Granted, this isn’t a site that needs to include investor relations, say, as that is handled by the parent company, Altria, but nevertheless, Philip Morris are working hard to provide positive messages about their product and their approach to the industry issues.

Yet, on visiting some corporate websites, you might get the impression that the major issues affecting – say – the economic climate are imaginary, or at least that the company is not willing to discuss them. Why not? You know that the visitors to your website will be thinking about them, and wondering how you are affected …

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