In the process of researching the previous article I went and had a look at the Santos website. Like most large multi-national corporations the PR presented is extremely divergent from the actual reality of the ruthless and amoral way they conduct business. Perception management for companies like Santos is a serious thing. So they make quite calculated choices about how to best invest money that gives them a “good name” (such as the sponsoring of the QLD police vehicles) all without impacting their profits and getting in the way of their rapacious hunger for growth and power. So in the end you get carefully crafted messages that are ultimately disingenuous and completely hollow.
In response to this we are starting a column (that may turn into a regular feature) where we translate “corporate speak” into “honest truth.” So Santos is the lucky recipient of our first “What they SAY and what they MEAN”.
What they say and what they mean.
What Santos says vs. what Santos means
“Supporting communities through the arts”
What Santos say: “Engaging with and supporting the communities in which we operate is vitally important to Santos.”
What Santos means: Appearing to engage with and support the communities in which we operate is vitally important to Santos.
SAY: “We’re proud of the many long-term partnerships that we’ve built and maintained with a variety of different community groups and across a range of thematic areas.”
MEAN: We’re proud of the many long-term partnerships that we’ve contrived and funded with a variety of different communities so underfunded they will take anyone’s money, all across a range of thematic areas.
SAY:“Supporting arts organisations and festivals are a key focus for us as they contribute to the vibrancy of a community, providing residents with the opportunity to experience and enjoy events and activities together.”
MEAN: Supporting arts organisations and festivals are a key focus of our perception management. For us, being associated with the arts is far better than being seen as a large multinational mining company, pillaging the earth whilst accelerating global warming and humanity’s demise. We masterfully create an illusion in which we are perceived to be contributing to the vibrancy of a community, providing residents with the opportunity to experience and enjoy events and activities together. Where we can we will use words like “enjoy,” “opportunity,” and “vibrancy,” even if they have nothing to do with what’s being stated. We also will use pictures of smiling children to help facilitate the perception that we are unthreatening.
SAY: “In the past five years Santos has provided over $6m in financial support to a wide range of arts organisations and community festivals across Australia. In particular, the organisations that we have provided long term support for include…”
MEAN: In the past five years Santos has provided over $6m in financial investments to a wide range of arts organisations and community festivals across Australia. Turning over $10 billion in the last 5 years, $6 million is a small price to pay for the public to “think Santos: think festivals, arts and energy provider,” instead of “think Santos: think displacing 10,000 Indonesian residents due to a mud flow disaster we created, groundwater contamination, oil spills and water depletion.” At Santos, we really do care about bringing the community’s attention to all the things we do, that have nothing to do with the things we actually do.
Climate Change Policy
SAY: “Our Climate Change Vision: Santos will lower the carbon intensity of its products.”
MEAN: Our Climate Change Vision: Santos will lower the carbon intensity of its products once we have wasted years working out how, or what that even means.
SAY: “Climate change is a long-term issue, requiring urgent but informed action to stabilise atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. As a global stakeholder in the energy business we recognise that one of our key social and environmental responsibilities is to pursue strategies that address the issue of climate change.”
MEAN: Climate change is a long-term issue, which means you can relax and not worry about it too much. It requires urgent but informed action, yet seeing as we are all still becoming informed, that urgency will have to wait. We need to ensure we can stabilise atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations while still continuing to purge the earth of every last drop of fossil fuels we can get our hands on. As a global contributor to making the world uninhabitable, we recognise that one of our key social and environmental responsibilities is to pursue strategies that address the issue of climate change (as long as it doesn’t interfere we our ability to make billions in profits, of course). Tackling climate change is so important to us we have written less than 70 words on it, in a page on our website you will have trouble finding.