Campaign to right Shell’s wrongs continues

Press Release
Friends of the Earth International

Amsterdam (The Netherlands), 8 December 2005 — Communities living on the fence line of Shell’s operations from around the world met today with Shell CEO Van de Veer to ask for concrete commitments to solve their serious environmental and health problems.

Van de Veer agreed to a direct line of communication from the fence line communities to the highest level of decision making within Royal Dutch Shell. However, Van der Veer did not want to take ultimate responsibility for the operations of his local facilities, which is a matter of concern to the fence line groups.

Shell admitted that stakeholder dialogue must be improved and that monitoring of emissions can be done better, but claims that it cannot prescribe or dictate specific improvements to local plant managers. Shell refused to agree upon criteria for the engagement of community groups on environmental issues.

Before the company’s AGM in April 2006, the groups will report to Shell and the public what progress has been made on these issues. The groups will continue to campaign locally and globally to stop the company’s wrongdoings. Shell will be expected to deliver on its promises, particularly in projects under development where crucial construction decisions will be made, such as those in County Mayo, Ireland and Sakhalin Island.

“Shell talks about its philosophies, but philosophy doesn’t fix pipelines and it doesn’t cure pollution-related illness” says Norbert George from Curacao. “The ball is in Shell’s court to show that they live up to their standards, and this should be demonstrated by concrete actions.”

“Shell’s double standards have been well documented,” said Desmond D’sa from Durban, South Africa. “They use cleaner and safer technologies at the Shell refinery in Denmark than they do in Durban, for example.”

Shell’s management agreed to a direct line of communication for fence line neighbors to the CEO, and also agreed to consider the installation of real time fence line air monitoring at their refineries. However, the company declined to agree to the following requests: objective criteria for engaging appropriate stakeholders on environmental issues (denied); expedited timeline for upgrading aging equipment in developing countries (denied); a joint process to determine responsibility for contamination from operations (denied); and the erasure of double standards in their operations in developed nations versus developing nations (disagreement upon the facts).

The delegation from Shell consisted of high-level senior managers. From the fence line communities, there were representatives from Nigeria, South Africa, Curacao, Texas and Brazil. Shell’s operations have been a concern of the global alliance of fence line communities for three years, and affected groups have issued numerous reports documenting Shell’s poor performance.

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For more information contact Paul de Clerck, Friends of the Earth International: +-31-6-29593877