Reflecting on the major stories of the past few years—floods in Australia and Brazil, Typhoon Haiyan, BP Deepwater Horizon incident, poor working conditions of garment factory workers in Bangladesh, food riots that led to the overthrow of a dictatorship in Tunisia—common themes emerge such as the environment, climate change, ethics, and human rights, which all fall under the vast umbrella of sustainability. Increasingly, governments are implementing policies and enacting legislation designed to reduce unabated carbon emissions through market mechanisms such as cap and trade schemes .
The BP Deepwater Horizon incident crystallizes the centrality of sustainability to business strategic success. Costs to BP arising from the absence of a quality culture that incorporates “minimal loss” to the society has been a $91 billion reduction of market value between April and June 2010, over 350 lawsuits from the general public, damage to its brand image, loss of support from environmental groups with the U.S. Audubon Society who consider the oil spill to be the “largest uncontrolled science experiment” in U.S. history, shareholder dissatisfaction, and the demise of BP’s industry leadership .
This absence of a quality culture gave rise to the following quality failures leading to the explosion aboard Deepwater Horizon :