Environmental management in the petroleum industry
The increased awareness of the deterioration of the biophysical environment and change in ecological values are affecting the relationship of organizations with the biophysical environment. The management of green issues has been peripheral to organizations' business strategy and dealt with in a piecemeal manner. However, organizations are recognising the strategic importance of the management of green issues and are introducing internal environmental management systems to deal with such issues. The management of green issues has to be dealt with by most organizations, and virtually all industrial organizations. In this work an 'ecological complex framework' has been developed in order to systematically investigate and represent the social process associated with ecological forces and environmental controls affecting the relationship of organizations with the biophysical environment. The aim of the framework developed in this work is first to understand how and what green issues are noticed by organizations and how they respond to them. Second to bring green issues into strategic management research. To allow a coherent investigation of this issue this work has concentrated on one specific industry, the oil industry, with special focus on the refining activity. A case study of the Brazilian oil organization Petrobras was undertaken to investigate the problem. In this case study representatives of Petrobras were interviewed about their roles in the management of green issues. These representatives ranged from operational staff through to senior management at refineries and head office. In addition to the case study environmental managers from other oil organizations in the UK were interviewed and a content analysis of corporate literature of all oil organizations studied was undertaken. The findings of this investigation have shown that the management of green issues have become an important issue in oil refineries' strategies. However, due to the complexity and uncertainty of stakeholders' ecological demands, oil organisations are still learning how to recognise their relevance and strategic implications.