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Shell Oil in the McSpotlight

| What's Wrong With Shell? | Opposition & Campaigns | Company Profile |

Shell received worldwide attention for their involvment in the unfair trial and execution of the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 other Ogoni people by the Nigerian military government.

Shell were also the subject of a succesful Greenpeace campaing to stop them dumping a decommissioned oil storage platform in the North Sea. Shell have now asked Greenpeace to assist them in drawing up an environmental assessment. Although any company has to be commended for taking their environmental impact seriosly, we have to beware that it is not just an attempt at some belated public relations.

Shell is part of the Oil industry.

It is not only the specific practices of individual companies that cause problems. The attitudes created by the current system of exploitation gives power and profits to the few, at the expense of people, animals and the environment. It is important to expose the unethical practices of specific companies as their behaviour is often indicative of the entire system.

What's Wrong With Shell?
Workers' Rights

Exploiting employees

Shell Oil have been involved in anti-trade union activities and have played a leading role in moves by the Oil Industry to de-recognition of trade unions in the UK.

[The Ethical Consumer Guide to Everyday Shopping  published by the Ethical Consumer Research Association.]

Oppresive Regimes

Supporting brutal / repressive regimes

Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 others were tried and executed for murder in late 1996. The real reason for the execution of these people was that they were leading the protest by the Ogoni nation in Nigeria against Shell's operations there. Ken Saro Wiwa played an important part in leading the protest against the exploitation of Ogoni lands and Ogoni people by oil giants such as Shell. As media interest in the trial peaked, Shell Oil was forced to admit that they had supplied guns to the Nigerian government. Nineteen others are still detained without charge for their involvement in the anti-Shell movement.

A Channel 4 documentary 'The Drilling Fields' accused Shell of being in alliance with the Nigerian military government. Shell had to withdraw their complaint about the programme after admitting to paying the military.

Shell continue to operate in Nigeria

[The Ethical Consumer Guide to Everyday Shopping  published by the Ethical Consumer Research Association.]


Environmental destruction

One of Shell's oil storage platforms - Brent Spar - is obsolete and awaiting decommissioning. Shell was granted permission by the British government to dump Brent Spar in a deep water trench in the North Sea. In other areas, such as the Gulf of Mexico, oil storage platforms have to be taken apart and disposed of on shore. Greenpeace UK reacted quickly and successfully to the situation and Shell backed down. Hundreds of similar oil installations exist, over 50 of which are due for decommissioning in the next 10 years.

Shell have also recently begun operations in Peru, where despite their attempts to minimise the impact to both the environment and the local people there are already claims that damage is being done. Local people say that it now takes a whole day to hunt the same amount of animals it used to take only 2 hours to find, and that their river sometimes runs black.

[The Ethical Consumer Guide to Everyday Shopping  published by the Ethical Consumer Research Association.] [The Guardian, 14.5.97]

Credits and References: Most of the information in this section was taken from The Ethical Consumer Guide to Everyday Shopping  published by the Ethical Consumer Research Association. 

Opposition and Campaigns

Exploitation and profiteering do not need to exist. A better way of running our lives can be created based on the sharing of resources and on respect for each other and for nature. Increasingly people are questioning and challenging those with power and are seeking alternatives. Let's hope it's possible to make a difference.

Company Profile
Products and brandnames:

Shell petrol stations
Select Convenience stores

Contact details:

Postal address(es): Royal Dutch / Shell Group:
c/o Shell Centre
London SE1 7NA

Phone number(s):
UK: +44 (0)171 930 2399
US: General Inquiries: 1-800-248-4257
Shell MasterCard: 1-800-993-8111
Shell Credit Card: 1-800-331-3703

Fax number(s):
not known

Telex: 919651 SHEL A G

Online presence:

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