What You Can Do
- Spread the Word/Boycott Card – Possibly the most important and easiest thing to do in advancing the Big Three boycott is to make a point to mention it to family and friends. You can download the wallet-sized boycott card that gives guidance on what brands to choose to avoid conflict-gasoline. We will be glad to send you boycott cards in bulk if you want to them handy to pass out individually or to distribute within organizations. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for bulk quantities. We’ll send 10 free; larger amounts will have a small charge for printing plus postage.
- Disengage – Ask churches, colleges, universities, local government agencies and other institutions to not purchase petroleum products from ExxonMobil, Shell and BP and to divest themselves of stock in these companies. Suggest that they reinvest in wind and solar energy, industries that are proving to be profitable as oil prices rise.
- Write a Letter – Letter-writing can seem a pretty flimsy tool for getting change, but when similar letters start hitting companies, and politicians, people pay attention. This is not only because of the letter itself but because people in business and politics know how hard it is for us to get around to writing letters. So a letter from one person probably means that a lot more people agree with the letter-writer.
Here are letters that we wrote to ExxonMobil, Shell and BP that you may wish to use for model. The letters are virtually the same, except they give you appropriate addresses and statistics for each company.
Please send a copy of your letter to your U.S. Senators and your Congressperson. This is extra work, but it will have a very significant impact, in large part because politicians rarely get letters on boycotts and because it may well relate to their personal stockholdings and/or contributors.
Please send us any responses that you get.
Consumers for Peace
1016 Main Street
Peekskill, NY 10566.
1061 Main Street,
Peekskill, New York 10566
In this same 5-year period, your firm has reported profits totalling $113.75 billion. I would like to suggest that about $28 billion of this amount is war profit, that portion of profits Shell has realized solely because of the Iraq War. Let me explain.
In response to our request, Dr. Dean Baker, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, estimated that 20 to 30 percent of ExxonMobil’s 2007 profit can be traced directly to the Iraq war because of: (1) decreased Iraqi oil production caused by the war; (2) inflation in the price of a barrel of oil because of the uncertainty in the oil market created by the Iraq War, which constantly threatens to explode its infection of violence into other parts of the Middle East.
“I’m just speculating,” Dr. Baker said, “but the price of oil is probably about $10 to $22 a barrel higher because of the war” given the above factors. “If (oil) prices were 10-20 percent lower, Exxon’s profits might be 20-30 percent lower. Dr. Baker made a similar analysis of ExxonMobil’s 2005 war profits, and applying this standard to ExxonMobil’s profits from 2003 through 2007 we arrive at the estimate of $39 billion in war profits over the five war years. We believe this same analysis can be applied to Shell, hence the estimate of $28 billion in war profits for Shell since 2003
Dr. Baker’s observation about the impact of the Iraq War on the price of oil is reinforced in a 2006 report “The Economic Cost of the Iraq War: An Appraisal Three Years After the Beginning of the Conflict” by expert in public finance, Professor Linda Bilmes of Harvard’s Kennedy School and the 2001 Noble Laureate in Economics, Professsor Joseph Stiglitz, of Columbia University:
“We believe…the impact of Iraq on oil prices is a large proportion of the $45-a-barrel increase since the war began…Given U.S. imports of roughly five billion barrels a year, a $10-per-barrel increase translates into an extra expenditure of approximately $50 billion. Americans are poorer by that amount…if we base our estimates on a $10 price increase, and assume…it extends for at least six years, the cost is $300 billion.
There is circumstantial evidence that Shell, along with other major oil firms, was involved in consulations with the U.S. government on Iraq prior to the invasion and occupation with an eye toward access to Iraq’s vast pools of oil. In addition, there is evidence that Shell has been eager to promote a new oil law for Iraq that would give exceptional profits to foreign oil firms. (See ConsumersforPeace.org and Hands Off Iraqi Oil. org)
But, the war has proven profitable to Shell even prior to the firm’s gaining access to some of Iraq’s oil pools, not only because the war has run up the price of oil but because Shell has benefited from oil sales to the Pentagon totalling $5.6 billion between FY 2003 and 2007.
- Pay $28 billion, Shell’s war profit for the last five years, into a fund that will make direct payments to families of Iraqi, U.S. and other coalition war dead and wounded, in proportion to their numbers, through Iraqi Red Crescent, the U.S. Veterans Administration and the International Committee of the Red Cross. (Note that we are making similar war profit requests of ExxonMobil [$38 billion] and BP [$13.3 billion], which would lead to the creation of a war profit-war relief fund totalling approximately $80 billion. Over the next few months we will make war profit requests of other major oil companies to increase this fund.)
- Make public statements urging the Congress to immediately cut off all funding for the occupation of Iraq except for what it takes for an immediate, total withdrawal of all U.S. military forces and U.S.-employed private military forces and the closure of all U.S. Iraqi bases.
- Make public statements notifying the Iraqi and United States governments that Shell is stopping all lobbying for the passage of any Iraqi oil legislation and urging Congress to eliminate passage of an Iraqi oil law from the list of benchmarks established in the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans Care, Katrina Recovery and Iraq Accountability appropriations Act of 2007.
Nick Mottern, Director, ConsumersforPeace.org