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Stakeholders and corporate environmental decision making: The BP Whiting Refinery controversy

Bryan T. Stinchfield Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, Department of Business, Organizations, and Society, Franklin & Marshall College)

Publication date: 1 December 2009


In 2007, BP sought and received regulatory approval to expand operations at its Whiting Refinery in northwest Indiana. Had the project gone forward as planned, the refinery would have discharged significantly higher levels of pollutants into Lake Michigan, but would have also contributed to economic development in the region. The result of BP seeking and being granted regulatory approval triggered a firestorm of controversy from multiple segments of society. This case study draws from secondary sources to examine the positions of a variety of stakeholders who influenced BP's decision as to whether or not it should expand its Whiting Refinery. Relevant stakeholders included for analysis are citizen and environmental organizations, political groups, trade associations, BP's employees, and stockholders. The intended target audience for this case is upper-level undergraduate business students studying issues related to business and society, such as corporate social responsibility and sustainable development.


Stinchfield, B.T. (2009), "Stakeholders and corporate environmental decision making: The BP Whiting Refinery controversy", , Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 5-18.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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