Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Blueprints or Scramble – which way for Shell?

Four weeks ago I blogged on the resolution on Canadian Tar Sands brought to the BP AGM by a group of concerned investors including the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church, the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR) and Fair Pensions. Today it is Shell’s turn. A group of US investors have stated that neither company have given a consistent account of how their tar sands projects square with their stated preference to move towards a low carbon economy.

Shell’s position seems quite clear and I am sure not too different from that of any other company in the sector. Their investment decisions do not need to square with their stated preference for a low-carbon economy. Two years ago they produced an interesting report on future energy scenarios titled “Blueprints or Scramble”. Scramble paints a picture of poor regulation where competing national interests are uncontrolled and nations rush to secure the last remaining deposits of fossil fuels as fast as possible. Shell prefers the more optimistic scenario of “blueprints” but, according to Shell Vice-President Jeremy Bentham, whether international regulation goes in the direction of “blueprints” or “scramble” Shell will position itself to be successful in either case.