What is Esso afraid of?

Feature story - 23 June, 2002
ExxonMobil is worried about the reputation of its brand, and is attempting to sue Greenpeace to protect it.

Greenpeace StopEsso campaign.

It's not worried about the fact that it has tried to convince the public that global warming isn't happening. It's not worried about getting criticism because it has sabotaged international climate agreements. Nor has it expressed concern that it has chosen to prioritise selling more petrol over scientific warnings of famine, floods, and disease for future generations.

It's worried that Greenpeace is making fun of its logo.

It thinks that Greenpeace is deliberately trying to create "a repulsion, which turns away customers from the ESSO brand" by swapping two letters in its brand with dollar signs. It is even suggesting that Greenpeace is attempting to draw a connection between the world's biggest climate criminal and "the infamous SS."

In a suit filed with the French courts over Greenpeace's use of the Esso logo, the corporation is demanding a penalty of 80 thousand euros for reputational damage and 80 thousand euros a day per logo should Greenpeace fail to comply. It also demands removal of all use of the term "StopEsso".

StopEsso, a coalition of groups including Greenpeace, is campaigning around the world to stop ExxonMobil from sabotaging international action to address climate change, such as the Kyoto Protocol.

The French website over which ExxonMobil wants to sue, is one of several StopEsso sites globally.

Executive Director of Greenpeace Gerd Leipold says that Greenpeace is not backing down.

"This is just ridiculous. Esso knows it can't win a debate about climate change, and it won't discuss the content of the website. Instead Esso is trying to gag us with legal threats. We will fight this in court."

A initial legal decision is expected around the 6-7th of July.

In the meantime, Greenpeace agrees that the public's repulsion with the Esso brand should not be based on a logo. It should be based on the facts of ExxonMobil's record of endangering our future. Therefore, we encourage readers to join in discussions at StopEsso.org and encourage others to do so by taking the action listed below and informing friends of the issue using the ecard links in the side bar to the right.

Tell Exxon what you think of its climate policy and decision to sue Greenpeace rather than tackling the problem of climate change.