03/10/2009 09:42 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Just a Small Drop in a Big Oily Ocean

In the evolving journey towards widepread sustainability and green principles, you sometimes come across stories that seem innocuous, but actually bear closer attention. One of these happens to be an announcement by the Hunt Oil Company boasting the attainment of LEED Silver Certification for Commercial Interiors for its headquarters building in Dallas. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification is awarded by the U.S. Green Buildings Council, and no doubt entails a great deal of thought and hard work by any corporation, real estate company, architect and engineers involved. It's a worthwhile endeavor that results in increased energy efficiency as well as a healthier workplace.

According to the Hunt Oil Company's website, "Twenty percent of total building materials used were made of recycled content; the building uses 23 percent less water overall (with an irrigation system that uses 50 percent less water than conventional systems); at least 50 percent of electricity used in the building comes from renewable sources; mechanical systems consume less energy, and installed daylight responsive controls reduce environmental impacts associated with excessive energy use. 'As an energy company, creating a LEED-certified work environment was a conscious decision we made during the design phase,' said Ben Tyner, Building Operations Manager for Hunt Oil Company. "Receiving LEED Silver certification is a great accomplishment for the company, and demonstrates our sensitivity to a number of environmental issues we face today.'"

How nice. However, if you also read the company CEO's message on this site, it appears to run completely counter to this "sensitivity." Ray L. Hunt s words seem like a self-congratulatory discourse on oil and gas discovery driven environmental exploitation. "We enjoy a tradition and heritage of successfully challenging conventional wisdom and exploring for oil and gas where others have not ventured," he writes. "The men and women who comprise our company today have explored for oil and gas on every continent except Antarctica, and in virtually every type of climatic and geographical condition--ranging from severe desert environments to jungle conditions, from the frozen Arctic, to deep offshore waters."

Apparently there is a disconnect at this company concerning the actual meaning of "environmental issues." Having a green office building and work environment is commendable if not necessary in these times, but not nearly as imperative as companies such as Hunt Oil spending more time seeking and developing alternative sources of energy. Getting LEED certification is terrific, but in this case it truly amounts to nothing more than a drop in the ocean.

Jonathan A. Schein is the Publisher of and