Norwegian Oil Company Statoil announced earlier this year that they are changing their name to Equinor.
“After many years as Statoil, we have changed our name to better reflect whom we have become, and where we are heading,” the official website reads.
A shift in expectations
The reason Equinor gave for their new name implies that they are aware of a change in the way people view businesses and corporations.
People today are driven by their own value set. Making a positive difference in the world is seen as very important. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek believes that Millennials, in particular, expect different things from society.
“[They want] to feel that they matter, that their work matters and that they are contributing to something bigger than themselves,” the text on Sinek’s website reads.
Younger generations are putting more pressure on organisations to be sustainable and ethical. They are making choices based on their own beliefs, and are more likely to choose a company or brand if it shares their world values.
An established company
Statoil was established in 1972, and was owned by the Government of Norway. It was privatised 29 years later, in 2001. The Norwegian Government still owns the largest share of the company.
Statoil merged with Norsk Hydro in 2007. Norsk Hydro was a renewable energy company, and a major producer of hydroelectric power in Norway. This was a step towards a more sustainable energy production.
Even big companies are making a change
The decision to rebrand as Equinor goes to show that no company is too big to be affected by this change. The power of these values is forcing even multinational companies to reconsider how they present themselves to the public.
It is not necessarily wise to accept what companies present at face value. If the world is seeing a shift in values, it is only natural that a company will do there best to appease the public by matching those values. In some cases, companies may do the bare minimum, in order to present themselves as sustainable when in truth they are not.
Planning for the future
In the case of Equinor, they are investing in renewable energy and planning for the future. “Changing the world’s energy mix will take time,” CEO Eldar Sætre said in an interview posted on the Equinor website. “The fact is that the world will need oil and gas for many decades to come”.
It is understandable that people may be sceptical about the name change. It shows a clear attempt at rebranding, and people will want to know that there are changes being made to justify the updated name.
Sætre defended the decision, adding that Equinor is "a name that’s relevant for our entire business, not just oil, especially if you bear in mind the future."
“One of the most important things we can do, as a company concerned with balance and the climate, is to produce oil and gas in a sustainable way”, he said.
“The name says something about our views on people, and on energy.”
Changing a company's name is an expensive and long process. In this case, it will most likely prove worthwhile. It is a timely update in an industry that is falling out of favour with the public, and needs bringing up to date.
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