Big Oil: Total Clean Up

The $125 billion European oil giant is embracing ethics and environmentalism as it does profit. But it's not easy being green

In his 30 years at Paris-based oil company Total, Jean-Noel Dairon has gathered a wealth of expertise in oil refining and marketing. But on a rainy Monday in October, the veteran executive shows up at the Hilton Hotel in Milan, Italy, with a rather different agenda: he has come to talk about business ethics. Dairon, 56, stands in front of 100 managers of the company's Italian subsidiary and gets straight to the point. "Is this a new era of capitalism," he asks provocatively, "or is it hypocrisy in action, a cynical response to the company's critics?" Thus starts an ethics road...

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