Written by Miranda Marquit
Big Oil's alternative energy track record doesn't look good.
Monumental efforts have been made by many Big Oil companies (Exxon - XOM - is not one of them) to project themselves as "green." Big Oil even goes so far as to "buy" favorable research at respected universities in order to support the idea that they are environmentally conscious. Companies ranging from BP (BP) to Chevron (CVX) to Shell (RDS-B) tout their environmentally friendly policies. But are they really environmetnally friendly? Well, they do invest in alternative energy.
According to the American Petroleum Institute, Big Oil (consisting of the largest five oil companies) invested $1.2 billion in alternative energy from 2000 to 2005. It is true that some may be investing more, but this investment should be compared to the nearly $120 billion Big Oil reaped last year alone. Big Oil is certainly interested in appearing "green": it helps them along with environmentally-minded investors. However, they aren't interested in investing major amounts into alternative energy. Instead, a great deal of the profits Big Oil is reaping come from investing in themselves -- buying back their own stock.
If you are interested in investing in companies that are environmentally ethical, carefully look at their alternative energy track record. Unfortunately, with Big Oil, that track record isn't very good.
Disclosure: The only Big Oil stock I am investing in is BP.