BP before the oil spill: An environmentally friendly company?

BP oil spill
BP oil spill

Long before BP became associated with oil-drenched pelicans and Twitter talk of an oilpocalypse, some critics winced at the company's sunburst logo and decade-old green marketing campaign that sums up the BP brand in two words: "Beyond Petroleum."

The slogan suggests an environmentally friendly company undergoing a sea change toward alternative energy sources like solar and wind. BP says it has

BP before the oil spill
BP before the oil spill

invested $4 billion in wind, solar, biofuels and carbon-capture-and-storage since 2005 and the company expects to spend another $4 billion in the next five years. It's the only oil company investing in all of these concepts. And, surprise - oil and gas companies are by far the biggest investors in green energy.

Yet those investments add up to a tiny fraction of BP's overall business. And even before the Deepwater Horizon debacle became the worst oil spill in U.S. history, other high-profile mishaps suggested a reality askew with the green PR.