I was asked the other day why bUnited was talking to Shell Oil. The person said:  “bUnited should be telling everyone to drive electric cars. Why are you talking to Shell Oil?”

We agree– everyone should eventually switch to driving electric cars. But just telling people won’t make it happen fast enough. We need to make things happen now.

My answer is basically in the title of this post: Who will Shell Oil listen to the most? Its largest customer. When bUnited members represent 5%, 10%, or 20% of their sales, Shell’s executives will not only listen to the changes we need them to make — they will actually do them.

Last year, we did a small test in the United States. For every 25 gallons of gasoline our members purchased, we planted a tree to offset the carbon emissions caused by burning that fuel. We did it immediately, even before we were big enough to get the attention of the oil company executives. That was just a start.

Like many large energy companies, Shell is in many different businesses, from oil exploration and sales, to chemical products, to solar energy.

So we have more of this…
and less of this.

If bUnited can reward Shell by giving them more business every time it improves its environmental and social processes and the bigger bUnited gets, the bigger customer of Shell we become and the more important it becomes that Shell executives listen to what bUnited members want them to do. 

The best way to change a company is by becoming its largest customer. That’s what buying power is all about.


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 2013

Author – Jim Jorgensen is bUnited’s chairman and co-founder with Johannes Pohle and Ozan Taner. Jim received an MBA from Stanford University, earned his CPA certificate while at KPMG, and started two companies with billion dollar valuations. Jim lives with his wife in the Silicon Valley. Read more… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Jorgensen


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