Of the 149 companies included in oekom's analysis, 26 qualified for a detailed rating based on their sustainability performance, and only nine met the research firm's minimum standards for sustainability management.
As a whole, oekom assessed companies' efforts on the climate protection to be "half-hearted." For example, only three companies—Hess, Statoil, and Total—have established specific emissions reduction targets, although unconventional methods such as tar sands extraction result in much higher levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
"Companies are under huge pressure from shareholders to find enough new reserves to replace depleted oil and gas reserves as quickly as possible," said Kristina Rüter, an oekom analyst.
Citing such recent developments as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the opening of the Arctic to oil exploration, Rüter observed that opening up these new reserves often leads to serious environmental pollution.
In the recently published book "Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power," journalist Steve Coll described the lengths to which Lee Raymond, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, would go to assure shareowners that the company was booking new oil and gas reserves at a rate at least equal to the rate at which already booked reserves were being depleted.
On the one hand, ExxonMobil complied with Securities and Exchange regulations in its financial filings, and as conventional sources dried up, the company reported decreased amounts of reserves. But on the other hand, Raymond publicly pronounced that the booking of new reserves was sufficient to replace the old, and did so by including unconventional sources such as tar sands oil disallowed at the time by the SEC.