Private Profit vs. Public Good: Energy Companies and Social Responsibility

UH Energy Debate to Focus on Role of Private Companies in Solving Public Concerns

Energy companies have a responsibility to their bottom lines, but what about to society?

The next debate in the UH Energy Symposium Series, set for Tuesday, Feb. 10, will tackle the issue of Private Profit vs. Public Good: Do Energy Companies Have a Social Responsibility?

The central issue is whether energy companies fulfill their responsibility to society simply by creating wealth – creating jobs and paying workers – or whether they have an additional social duty because their product is based upon extracting a community resource, something that belongs to society at large.

“Corporate responsibility can be highly nuanced,” said Ramanan Krishnamoorti, chief energy officer at the University. “That will come out in the discussion.”

Speakers include Badar Kahn, president and CEO of Direct Energy; Aneel Karnani, associate professor of strategy at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and author of “Fighting Poverty Together: Rethinking Strategies for Business, Governments, and Civil Society to Reduce Poverty;” Nathaniel Teti, head of sustainability for Statoil in North America, and Kathleen Hartnett White, director of the Armstrong Center for Energy and the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and former chairwoman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

John Beddow, publisher of the Houston Business Journal, will serve as moderator.

The debate will begin at 5:30 p.m., Feb. 10 in the UH Student Center South Theater, 4100 University Drive. Parking is available in the Welcome Center garage.

The event, presented by Chevron, is free and open to the public. RSVP to