Shell officially changed its name on Friday, rejecting the “Royal Dutch”, which has been part of its identity since 1907.
Rick Wilking | Reuters
On Monday morning, May 23, at 8:27 a.m., Caroline Dennett emailed 1,400 executives at the Shell oil and gas conglomerate after 11 years of working as a security consultant to announce her resignation.
Dennett, who lives near London, called on Shell executives and executives to “look in the mirror and ask if they really believe that their vision for oil and gas extraction ensures a secure future for humanity.”
Dennett later posted a screenshot of his resignation email, a one-minute, 12-second video where he speaks directly to the camera explaining his decision, and a written explanation of his decision on his LinkedIn professional network website.
Since then, his LinkedIn post has garnered nearly 10,000 reactions and more than 800 comments, some from Dennett and some from Shell.
Its market research business, Clout, began working with Shell in 2011 when BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico placed a new emphasis on safety measures in the oil and gas industry. He began designing, piloting, and managing employee surveys to find out how strictly they were complying with safety measures. With the information gathered, Dennett would make recommendations to improve the culture of employee safety.
Dennett did not take lightly his decision to stop doing business with Shell.
“They came when I decided to do the urns, which is probably a few weeks earlier, and I’ve been thinking about them for a few months to tell the truth,” Dennett told CNBC on Tuesday. “You don’t make such a weak decision. It’s something to keep in mind.”
But ultimately, Dennett says he was unable to continue working at Shell because of the contradictions between the company’s concern for the safety of individual local workers and the fundamental risk of continuing to extract oil and gas and burn for energy.
Shell’s internal security program is called a “Zero Goal,” and its goal is to “prevent harm and leakage,” Dennett said.
“The Zero Goal is honorable, but they don’t match the damage they’re doing on a massive scale. It’s great to keep individuals safe and to avoid leaks that cause pollution and environmental problems, but if it’s your core. we can’t keep up with the speed we know we can’t do that, as we’ve done for the last 30 years, “Dennett told CNBC.
“There’s something wrong with that.”
Why he cut ties
If Dennett believes that Shell is working in good faith to move from carbon-efficient energy sources to clean energy sources, he says he would stay.
But that was not what he saw. Instead, Dennett was asked to redesign the safety survey so that it could be used for new projects to build pipes and platforms. And then Dennett decided that what he was seeing was “not right,” he told CNBC.
“It wasn’t just those two projects. I knew more were coming,” Dennett told CNBC. “There would be another four, five, six, seven.”
The second reason Dennett left was because he did not discuss climate change.
“We have all this data from the survey, all this opportunity for people to give open opinions, and we have it – tens of thousands of words about security. Very few conversations about climate change, or something like that, and environmental issues, beyond knowing that there is pollution. in the local community, ”Dennett said.
“And you think, why doesn’t that happen? Probably in the PR department, and in the marketing department and in the brand communications department, I suspect they’re talking about nothing else but how they can appear as a more sustainable company. But if it is. , and that says that’s not culture. “
Shell has a new energy portfolio and Dennett has worked with that division. But they are more of a side project, according to Dennett.
“It’s not very real,” Dennett said. Smaller purchases, such as those from a German battery company, for example, “felt like a way to dress the scope, really.”
Shell told CNBC that it is committed to its decarbonization goals.
“Shell is committed to fulfilling our global strategy of becoming a clean zero company by 2050, and our employees are working hard to achieve this. We have set short-, medium- and long-term goals, and we are fully committed to meeting them.” your company. “We are already investing billions of dollars in low-carbon energy, even in sectors where the world will still need oil and gas for decades that cannot be easily decarbonised.”
Shell isn’t Clout’s only customer. And Dennett is aware that he is in a privileged position to decide to terminate his contract with Shell.
“I know there are people at the forefront of these industries, they have no choice. They really have no choice – it’s oil and gas or disaster,” Dennett told CNBC.
In Europe, North America, and other regions, there are places for skilled workers to find employment, especially if they have engineering or other technical skills.
“But there are not many other things in places like Nigeria and the local community is so overwhelmed by pollution that traditional farming and fishing work is very, very limited,” Dennett told CNBC. “Maybe you can go to another oil and gas player, but it’s the same, just jump from one to the other.”
After all, Dennett expects Shell leaders to hear his message.
“They’re a strong company that can do so much good in the world,” Dennett said. “It’s a shame they have all the capacity and ability to do that. I really want to have a vision and strategy for the future that doesn’t involve avoiding climate risks.”