While both having a history going back to John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company which was established in 1870, Exxon and Mobil operated separately for some time before merging on November 30, 1999 to form ExxonMobil Corporation. With its headquarters in Irving, Texas, and with a world-wide reach, ExxonMobil is a manufacturer of fuels, lubricants and petrochemicals and is the second largest publicly traded company by market capitalization in the world. The company operates 38 oil refineries located in 21 countries, and employs more than 82,000 people. The company's products are branded in different parts of the world as Exxon, Mobil and Esso.
As ExxonMobil provides products that are deemed to be essential, it is a popular choice for investors seeking to round out their investment portfolio. However, in the light of increased awareness regarding greenhouse gasses and all its related evils, the company has received heavy criticism from outside environmentalist organizations such as Greenpeace, and investors who support socially responsible investing, also known as ethical investing, – a situation which is made worse by the company’s stance on global warming and the fact that it is not very supportive of researching alternative energy sources. It may be this criticism that caused ExxonMobil to have an about-face in January 2007 when a spokesperson for the company was reported as saying that “the risk is serious and action should be taken”. It also confirmed that it had withdrawn funding from a number of greenhouse skeptic groups that had been actively critical of initiatives such as the Kyoto Protocol.
Currently (February 2010) ExxonMobil is promoting itself as a corporation that is “responding to world energy needs and fostering economic recovery”. It also notes that ExxonMobil is organizationally designed to compete on a global scale in an energy industry which is constantly changing, while at the same time remaining committed to meeting the growing demand for energy in a manner which is both environmentally and socially responsible.