Let’s say that you’re one of the world’s largest producers of synthetic crude and also Canada’s largest single-source producer of crude derived from oil sands.
Imagine that you are also the biggest greenhouse gas emitter in Alberta! (“Psst, we’re working on being the biggest in all of the nation, baby. Don’t count us out yet!”)
Your tailing ponds are a great place for suicidal waterfowl to go to die, and those outstanding environmentalists at Sinopec are one of your major share-holders.
How do you convey your misunderstood love and respect of Mother Earth to the public?
You go out and sponsor an “environmental gallery” at your local children’s museum, that’s how.
The newly coined Syncrude Environment Gallery, which opened last October, features interactive displays on a variety of environmental topics aimed at children, including shrinking sea ice, recycling, and a display on oilsands development in Alberta entitled, “history of a hot topic.”
At a price tag of $500K over 5 years? A pittance to don the veneer of a good corporate citizen.
Syncrude is the latest in the line of corporate hypocrites to sponsor philanthropic/scientific venues that prove that irony is either entirely lost on corporate polluters, or is fully embraced.
Two other notable examples of blurring the line between utter branding psychopathy and altruism spring to mind:
- Monsanto Insectarium (…which will probably be the only place you’ll ever get to see some of these insects after Monsanto is done eradicating them for good.)
- Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer (“I know! Let’s sponsor a fundraiser for all of the people out there who mysteriously contract cancer after living next to our infrastructure! Genius!”)
Time to sit and wait for Nestle to sponsor a water park or two in a developing nation.