Shelling out for Greenwash
A guest post by Green Christian board member Andii Bowsher
Shell is a big oil company that has attempted to present itself in a greener light. In the last year or so it has had a major court declaration against it in the Netherlands – where it was formerly headquartered (it used to be called Royal Dutch Shell, after all) – its move to the UK may be something to do with that court action. It has also recently seen a major shareholder divest from it. And now, of course, we see it posting a huge profit notice (like a number of other petrocorps). Its former name suggests, rightly, that it has an inglorious enmeshment in colonial history which includes oppressive profiteering.
Shell is actively investing in new oil and gas drilling, so its current greenwashing relies on carbon capture and storage and carbon pricing. Alert readers will recall that both of these are problematic as is its promotion of net zero. It’s like Shell is trying to do everything short of the really effective things it could do.
So what is needed with Shell and other petrocorps is external forcers to bring about direct reparations and actual decommissioning of its oil extractive infrastructure. There are no simple solutions to do this. A combination of measures is needed and constant vigilance to make sure that the measures do what they are intended to do and not derailed by these wily Principalities.
Andii is a chaplain at a northeastern university and has taken up cycling since the pandemic
Next: Just Stop Oil