Houston, energy companies ‘black listed’ for corporate transparency

A number of publicly-traded Houston companies — including a few in the energy sector — have made it onto a less-than-distinguished list of publicly traded companies that rate poorly when it comes to transparency.

Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s “Black List” highlights large, publicly traded firms that have poor records as corporate citizens in 7 key areas:

• Climate change
• Employee relations
• Environment
• Financial
• Governance
• Human rights
• Philanthropy

Local companies that made the Black List this year include:

Patterson-UTI (onshore drilling)

Frontier Oil Corp. (refining, now Dallas-based HollyFrontier)

GenOn Energy (power plant operator)

HCC Insurance Holdings (insurance)

BrandChannel notes that 32 of the 58 firms on the list are financial firms, while the Energy sector accounted for 12 percent of total, followed by Consumer Items and Health Care, at 10 percent each.

“The standard is not proof of superhuman altruism or the emptying of corporate coffers into the pockets of widows and orphans,” said the Corporate Responsibility editors in announcing this year’s list. “The standard is not even minimal environmental or governance performance, much less best practices. The standard is simply disclosure.”

Firms are audited by the magazine independently (and without their consent), CR notes.

Lest one thinks that CR’s ranking system is heavily skewed against energy firms because of the “Climate change” criteria, a number of energy companies end up on CR’s annual “Best Corporate Citizens” list. Houston’s own Spectra Energy ranks No. 18 on the list, while energy firms like Consolidated Edison, PG&E, Freeport McMoRan, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum and Hess make the top 50.