Ethical Performance
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Pension savers urge Shell shareholders to abandon Arctic drilling

March 2014

Royal Dutch Shell ceo Ben van Beurden has announced that the company will not attempt to drill in the Alaskan Arctic in 2014. The decision follows a US court ruling against the Department of the Interior which raises substantial obstacles to Shell’s plans for drilling in offshore Alaska.

“This is a disappointing outcome, but the lack of a clear path forward means that I am not prepared to commit further resources for drilling in Alaska in 2014,” van Beurden said.

The company is also facing a challenge from pension savers across the UK who are urging Shell shareholders to call on the company to abandon plans for any Arctic Ocean drilling.

The project is a shareholder activist push as part of ShareAction’s three year Green Light campaign, and is expected to see thousands of people email their pension funds and Shell’s largest shareholder – Blackrock - urging them to call for a change in Shell’s strategy.

Louise Rouse, director of engagement at ShareAction said: “Shell is the biggest shareholding in almost every UK pension fund. As such savers in those pension funds are exposed to the potentially catastrophic consequences of a major spill in the US Arctic Ocean. As shareholders these pension funds have the opportunity to express their views on company strategy. As the new ceo, Ben van Beurden, prepares to deliver his vision for the future of Shell on 13 March, shareholders should demand withdrawal from a high risk project that requires a highly capital-intensive investment for uncertain return.”

The action accompanies the publication of a new report: Frozen Future Shell’s ongoing gamble in the US Arctic co-authored by ShareAction, Greenpeace UK, Platform, Oil Change International, Oceana, and Pacific Environment. The report explores the many operational questions that remain unanswered to the satisfaction of the US government and others, along with economic risks to Shell’s planned Arctic projects that remain unanswered to the satisfaction of financial analysts. 

Royal Dutch Shell | Global | Shareholder activism


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