BP and the Rise of Sustainable Rebranding

by tom

British Petroleum relaunched its brand in 2000 as ‘Better People, Better Products and Beyond Petroleum’. The rebrand was designed to reflect a growing environmental concern.

 A brand relates to the fundamental values of a company of which the logo is a mere representation. To what extent was BP actually rebranded?

Was this prompted by people’s environmental concerns about BP or a genuine shift in direction from within the company?

Environmental concern has been steadily growing for many years and has had an increasing presence in the political agenda. Environmentalism, sustainability and social responsibility have all been absorbed into mainstream society. Is this a change in corporate values or elaborate marketing? Corporations such as BP have not neglected to align themselves with ethical practice and have reinterpreted their logo and focus to meet changing consumer demands.


 The BP shield was replaced by the ‘helios’, the sun god of Ancient Greece and features a Fibonacci pattern invoking a sense of organic order and harmony. The colours and symbolism reflect a sustainable disposition whilst remaining relevant to the idea of energy. The new logo retains BP’s trademark green and yellow and introduces and intermediate yellow green and white.

BP is currently developing parts of Russia for oil production. It also states in its company report that it is working on biofuel technology as well as developing solar and wind initiatives.

Australian based resource group BHP following a merger with Billiton shed its rigid corporate logo in favour of an organic freeform reflection of its diagonal lines. Interestingly it is more representative of BP’s product. The new tagline reads ‘resourcing the future’ and similarly to BP emphasizes the future.