Press release: 23 May 2023

Investor demand for stronger emission reduction targets maintained at Shell AGM

A significant number of Shell shareholders have signalled continued unhappiness with the Board of Directors’ emission reduction strategy, with one-fifth of shareholders voting against the Board at the company’s Annual General Meeting today.

Lawyers from ClientEarth, which has brought a lawsuit against Shell’s Board of Directors over climate risk mismanagement, said the result underscored shareholder concern with the Board’s management of the company’s transition. 

Paul Benson, senior lawyer at ClientEarth, said: “Today’s outcome demonstrates that, despite large dividends, shareholder concern with the Board’s transition strategy is significant.

“Shell may be making record profits now due to the turmoil of the global energy market, but the writing is on the wall for fossil fuels long term. The Board’s transition strategy woefully fails to address the significant and serious risks Shell faces as the shift to a low carbon world accelerates.

“The unprecedented support of institutional investors of our claim and the refusal of several influential shareholders to support the Board’s strategy clearly shows increasing dissatisfaction with Shell’s approach to transition.”

Although the claim was dismissed by the Court earlier this month, ClientEarth has requested and been granted a hearing to ask the judge to reconsider the decision. 


Notes to editors:
  • ClientEarth filed a lawsuit against Shell’s Board of Directors on February 9 2023 for failing to manage the material and foreseeable risks posed to the company by climate change. 

  • The claim argued the Board had breached its legal duties under the Companies Act by failing to adopt and implement an energy transition strategy that aligns with the Paris Agreement. Although Board claims to support the Paris Agreement, no independent source shows that its emission reduction targets are Paris-aligned. 

  • On May 12, the Court refused permission for the case to proceed. ClientEarth has since submitted a request for an oral hearing, at which it will ask the Judge to reconsider the decision. That request has been accepted. 

About ClientEarth

ClientEarth is a non-profit organisation that uses the law to create systemic change that protects the Earth for – and with – its inhabitants. We are tackling climate change, protecting nature and stopping pollution, with partners and citizens around the globe. We hold industry and governments to account, and defend everyone’s right to a healthy world. From our offices in Europe, Asia and the USA we shape, implement and enforce the law, to build a future for our planet in which people and nature can thrive together.