Net Worth

The Debate over Executive Pay in the Oil and Gas Industry Continues

The recent news of significant salary increases for two top oil and gas industry executives, BP’s Bernard Rooney and Shell’s Ben van Baden, has sparked controversy and debate.  

According to estimates, Bernard Looney’s salary and bonuses increased by more than double to £10 million last year from £4.46 million the year before. Ben van Beurden’s pay increased by nearly 50% to £9.7 million.

These pay increases came after BP and Shell reported record gains, largely due to higher energy prices caused by Russia’s attack on Ukraine. However, the high profits and subsequent wage increases have drawn criticism from some regions, especially as energy prices contribute to the rising cost of living. 

The energy industry has been under scrutiny for many years due to concerns about its benefits and environmental impact. The industry is recognized as providing an essential service, but the size of its profits raises questions about whether it pays consumers a fair price. 

Both BP and Shell have emphasized their large investments in renewable energy and their dedication to attaining net-zero emissions by the year 2050 in response to the criticism. The speed and scope of their switch to greener energy sources still raises questions, though.

High salaries for executives in the oil and gas industry have long been a point of contention. In 2021, a High Pay Center report found that his CEO in the FTSE 100 was earning 86 times more than the average UK worker.  

Some argue that high compensation is necessary to attract and retain top talent, while overcompensating executives is unfair and can lead to a culture of greed and inequality. Some argue that there is. 

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Sustainability and Social Responsibility

This news of the pay increases for Bernard Looney and Ben van Beurden highlights the ongoing debate around executive pay in the energy industry. As the world leans towards a greener future, it is likely that there will be increasing pressure on companies to ensure that their pay practices are aligned with their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.

While BP has committed to transitioning to green energy, it recently announced that it was scaling back plans to reduce carbon emissions by reducing oil and gas output. The company stated that it needed to invest in oil and gas to meet demand, highlighting the ongoing tension between economic growth and the need to combat climate change.

The disclosure of Looney’s pay rise has caused controversy, specifically due to the fact that the majority of the increase came from performance-based shares valued at £6m, representing 54% of the highest amount he could have received if he had met various targets. While his total pay of £10m has been criticized, it is worth noting that if he had hit all the targets, he could have earned £15.4m.

However, according to the Sunday Times, BP has been consulting shareholders about the award, and it has been guided that a higher payment would not be welcomed by investors. This suggests that there is growing pressure on companies to align their pay practices with their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.

Pay Percentage Increase

BP’s annual report also states that Mr. Looney’s wage increase of 4.25% to £1.3m is “below that of the wider UK workforce.”

While this may be true, it does not take away from the fact that executive pay in the energy industry remains a contentious issue, particularly as the industry faces increased scrutiny over its effect on the environment and the need to transition to cleaner energy sources.

As the world leans towards a greener future, it is likely that companies in the energy sector will face increasing pressure to balance economic growth with their responsibility to tackle climate change. 

This will require a shift in priorities, with a greater focus on sustainability and social responsibility, and a willingness to invest in green energy solutions, even if they may not offer the same returns as fossil fuels in the short term.

BP’s record profits and the pay increase of its CEO have highlighted the ongoing tension between economic growth and the need to transition to green energy. While the energy industry has an essential role to play in meeting global energy demand, it must also prioritize sustainability and social responsibility to ensure a cleaner, more sustainable future for all.

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BP, one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, has been a major player in the energy industry for over a century. Founded in 1908 as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, the company has since undergone several name changes and has evolved to become a leader in the transition to clean energy.

In recent years, BP has recognized the urgent need to address climate change and has committed to reducing its carbon footprint. The company has set an ambitious goal of becoming a net-zero company by 2050 or sooner, and has made significant investments in renewable energy and technology.

BP has also set targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and increase its investment in low-carbon businesses. The company aims to reduce its emissions by 50% by 2030 and increase its annual low-carbon investment to $5 billion by 2030.

In addition to its focus on clean energy, BP has also taken steps to address its role in the ongoing climate crisis. The company has pledged to reduce its oil and gas production by 40% over the next decade, in line with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.


BP’s transition to green energy has not been without challenges. The company has received backlash from environmental groups and investors who have questioned its commitment to sustainability. BP’s recent announcement that it was scaling back plans to decrease carbon emissions by reducing oil and gas output has also raised concerns about the company’s priorities.

Dame Vivienne Westwood Faces Demise at 81

Dame Vivienne Westwood, an unconventional fashion designer who helped popularize the British punk movement with her creations, has passed away.

Westwood, 81, died today (December 29) “in peace with her family in Clapham, South London”, according to a statement from her representatives.

Vivian Isabel Swire was born in Hollingworth, England on April 8, 1941. She began making jewelry after her family moved to Harrow, Middlesex and she enrolled at the University of Westminster’s School of Silversmithing.

After marrying Derek Westwood, an apprentice at a Hoover factory, she gave birth to Benjamin Westwood, her first child, in 1962. Vivienne married Malcolm McLaren shortly after the Westwoods’ divorce. Joseph Corré was the second son she had, born in 1967.

Westwood left his teaching job in 1971 to focus exclusively on fashion design, and McLaren contributed much of its style.

The couple initially opened a store that specialized in revival clothing. 

But it wasn’t until they changed the name to SEX and filled it with rebellious clothing—characterized by torn T-shirts, plaid patterns, integrated rubber, mohair tops, and safety pins as embellishments—that it really took off. 

It was a popular meeting place for important figures in the music scene at the time, including Sid Vicious, Suzie and Banshees guitarist Marco Pironi, and Pop.

Design Center

Soon after, McLaren took over as the Sex Pistols’ manager. The band started wearing the couple’s designs, which contributed to the rise in popularity of British punk and forever linked the two in history.

“It changed the way people looked,” Westwood told The Independent of her early punk clothing.

“I was messianic about punk, seeing if one could put a spoke in the system in some way. I realized there was no subversion without ideas. It’s not enough to want to destroy everything.”

Westwood’s design focus changed from the punk scene to mocking upper-class ladies in the 1980s. However, it was when Westwood unveiled her official clothing line, Pirates, in 1981 that she realized she was a fashion designer.

From then, she began testing the limits of clothes as a depiction of women’s sexuality by introducing the “mini crini,” an adaptation of the Victorian crinoline as a mini skirt.

In the years that followed, Westwood would go on to develop costumes for Virgin Atlantic flight crews, academic gowns for King’s College in London, and digital mock-ups for video game characters like Lunafreya Nox Fleuret from Final Fantasy XV.

Although Westwood is best remembered for her role in creating the so-called “look” of British punk, she insisted that no one style could adequately capture one’s identity or worldview.

“If you invest in art, if you study yourself, you become a freedom fighter immediately because your life changes, you get off the consumer treadmill, and you start thinking,” she said in a 2011 interview with The Guardian. 

“My thing as a fashion designer [is] I said buy less clothes. Keep wearing things that you’ve really chosen that you really love. That is status. It’s not that you have to keep consuming. A status symbol is a book.”

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Westwood as an Activist

Westwood frequently used her platform as an activist throughout her career. She frequently spoke at environmental justice gatherings and was open about her support for Julian Assange, showing up at various public rallies.

She founded the Climate Revolution in 2012 as a campaign against climate change and global warming.

“Capitalism is as corrupt as a rotten apple,” Westwood said in a Climate Revolution manifesto writing. “It’s the economy, stupid! U accept because u think there’s no alternative. But we have hope (war is fought four lands + cheap labor). Change the economy – NO MAN’S LAND.”

The late fashion designer and her two sons, Ben Westwood and Joe Corré, were interviewed for the Wake Up Punk documentary, which Westwood debuted earlier this year. The interviews focused on the shape-shifting genre of punk.

Corré organized Burn Punk London in 2016, where he destroyed his priceless collection of punk artifacts, much of which had been given to him by his parents.

Many musicians have paid tribute to the late fashion designer since word of his passing spread, including the Blessed Madonna, Yoko Ono, Massive Attack, the Avalanches, Leon Vynehall, Garbage, Rachel Goswell of Slowdive, and Maggie Rogers.

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Before the Limelight

Gordon Swire and Dora Swire (née Ball), who had wed two years earlier, two weeks after the start of the Second World War, were the parents of Westwood.

Her father had been a greengrocer before becoming a storekeeper in an aircraft plant at the time of Vivienne’s birth.

After taking a job in a factory and enrolling in a teacher-training college, she became a primary school teacher. During this time, she created all of the jewelry she sold out of a stall on Portobello Road.

Westwood’s creations were unique and reflected her own personal attitude. She occasionally collaborated with Gary Ness, who gave Westwood concepts and titles for her collections.

Richard Branson and Westwood collaborated extensively to create the clothes for the Virgin Atlantic crew. The female crew members wore red suits with deliberately placed darts around the bust area to draw attention to their curves and hips.

The guys wore a three-piece suit in burgundy and gray with accents on the lapels and pockets. Westwood and Branson employed recycled polyester because they were both concerned about using sustainable materials in their designs to lessen their negative environmental effects.