29 Jun 2009 admin


Environment groups criticize Shell CEO van der Veer for undermining Climate Policies

Brussels, Amsterdam, London, Washington – 29th June 2009

Ogoni supporters rally in New York in support of the Wiwa v Shell lawsuit, and protest against gas flaring in NigeriaFresh evidence of oil giant Shell’s colossal contribution to global climate change and its continued investment in carbon intensive fossil fuels has been revealed today in a new report.[1] The report also reveals new internal documents that show that Shell knew of the environmental dangers of gas flaring in Nigeria more than fifteen years ago, but chose not to stop for purely financial reasons.

As Shell’s new Chief Executive, Peter Voser, takes charge this week, Friends of the Earth, Oil Change International and PLATFORM have released new research showing that despite attempts by outgoing CEO, Jeroen van der Veer, to portray a green image, the company has opted for a way forward that is in stark contradiction with the need to reduce CO2 emissions. Shell’s heavy investments in the most carbon-emitting energy sources, such as tar sands, liquefied natural gas and crude oil from Nigeria – which is associated with huge levels of gas flaring – make it the dirtiest of all major oil companies with regard to CO2 emissions.

The three campaign groups call on the EU and the US to stop listening to Shell in discussions of how to tackle climate change. They say van der Veer has personally led lobby efforts in Brussels against improvements to the EU’s Emission Trading System, and threatened to move refineries out of Europe if Shell and other oil companies were made to pay for their emissions.

Paul de Clerck from Friends of the Earth International said: “Shell attempts to paint itself as a sustainable company when in reality it is the dirtiest oil producer of all. It continues to make huge profits but still argues that it cannot afford to pay for effective CO2 reduction measures. The EU should no longer listen to Shell in talks about tackling climate change.”

Since 1996 Shell has promised to stop gas flaring in Nigeria – the biggest contributor to climate change in sub-Saharan Africa. But the company has repeatedly broken its promises and rejected statements by the Nigerian government that flaring should be stopped. Shell refuses to implement the 2011 deadline imposed by the Nigerian government for phasing out gas flaring and is now speaking about a 2013 phase out.

Steve Kretzmann from Oil Change International said: ‘Shell could stop flaring gas in Nigeria for only 10% of last years’ profit for the company. The company’s new head, Peter Voser, has the power to stop gas flaring, spare Nigerians from inhaling deadly toxins, and help to curb climate change in one stroke. The question is: will he?”

Today’s report, ‘Shell’s Big Dirty Secret’, comes after a global backlash against the energy giant’s abuses of human rights and the environment. On June 8, Shell was forced to pay $15.5 million to settle an embarrassing lawsuit in the US for human rights abuses in Nigeria. The company is also facing legal action in The Hague concerning repeated oil spills which have damaged the livelihoods of Nigerian fisherfolk and farmers.


Belgium: Paul de Clerck, Friends of the Earth International:
+32-494-38-09-59 or [email protected]

Netherlands: Anne van Schaik, Friends of the Earth Netherlands,
+31-20-5507387, +31-6-21829589, [email protected]

U.S. (DC): Steve Kretzmann, Oil Change International, +1-202-497-1033;
[email protected]

U.K. (London): Ben Amunwa, PLATFORM, +44-207-357-0055, +44-7891-454-714,
[email protected]

The report, ‘Shell’s Big Dirty Secret’ is available HERE.

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Visit for more information. The ShellGuilty campaign is a global coalition including Friends of the Earth (, Oil Change International (, and PLATFORM’s remember saro-wiwa project (, with support from environmental and human rights groups in Nigeria, North America, and Europe.

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