A coalition of environmental attorneys is suing Shell’s board of directors to hold them personally liable for failing to implement a sufficient strategy to transition the oil major off fossil fuels and act on the climate crisis. ClientEarth, which holds a small amount of Shell stock and has the support of institutional investors and pension funds that collectively hold 12 million shares, is bringing the lawsuit under the UK Companies Act.
“Shell is seriously exposed to the risks of climate change, yet its climate plan is fundamentally flawed,” Paul Benson, a senior lawyer at ClientEarth, told the Wall Street Journal. Shell — which is already facing an SEC complaint in the U.S. for allegedly misleading investors and another UK lawsuit over the devastation of two Nigerian communities by its drilling operations there — pulled down a record $39.9 billion profit in 2022.
“Shell may be making record profits now, but the writing is on the wall for fossil fuels long term,” Benson told The Guardian. “The shift to a low-carbon economy is not just inevitable, it’s already happening. Yet the board is persisting with a transition strategy that is fundamentally flawed, despite the board’s legal duty to manage those risks.” (Wall Street Journal $, The Guardian, Reuters, Politico Pro $)