Last week Shell announced it would not renew its membership of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a trade association known for taking climate-sceptic positions.
Shell says it was leaving ALEC because of the association’s stance on climate change.
On 19 June, institutional investors urged Shell in a letter to leave several US and European industry groups argued to be hampering the move to a low-carbon economy.
Curtis Smith, a Shell spokesman, says in a statement: “We have long recognised both the importance of the climate challenge and the critical role energy has in determining quality of life for people across the world.”
Investors taking action
UK NGO ShareAction says that trade associations are frequently used to lobby on matters of climate policy, but argues that the largely undisclosed lobbying could put companies and investors at risk.
The group tells Investment and Pensions Europe that its recommendations are based on research by the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) at the University of Westminster, which it says has recently highlighted how several major EU trade associations have actively lobbied against climate change mitigation.
The group adds that there is a need for greater transparency on the alignment of companies’ climate positions with those of the trade associations they support.
However, climate campaigners have questioned Shell’s departure from ALEC over climate concerns, while the company continues to drill for Arctic Oil.
Shell has recently faced large protests of kayak-wielding activists in Seattle during the departure of its Arctic drilling fleet. In Portland, Greenpeace activists successfully kept the company’s Arctic-bound icebreaker, the Fennica, in port an extra day before it could leave to support the drilling in the Chukchi Sea.
Greenpeace is not happy with Shell merely withdrawing from ALEC and says it will continue to protest and cause disruption for the company until it stops drilling in the Arctic.
Tim Donaghy, a senior research specialist for Greenpeace, tells InsideClimate News that the only answer he wants to hear is Shell backing away from drilling in the Arctic. “There’s no way to safely drill in the Arctic,” Donaghy is quoted saying. “It just doesn’t make sense from a climate-change perspective, it doesn’t make sense from the risk of an oil spill. It’s just a bad idea.”