Green groups attack Shell’s national press ads

Environmental groups have attacked a national press campaign by Shell as ” ill-timed and “at best cynical and at worse downright dishonest”.

Shell campaign
Shell campaign

Shell, the oil company, today (May 28) launched a series of full-page national ads in today’s Times, Guardian, Independent and Telegraph.

The advert reads: “Let’s deliver energy for a changing world,” before covering Shell’s work in cleaning up the air, using biofuels and meeting the energy demand challenge.

The ads come in the midst of the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which has battered the company’s rival, BP.

The reputation of Shell and Esso has, so far, remained intact on the back of the oil spill. BP’s, on the other hand has plummeted from a high of 18.6 at the end of April to -2.7 in mid-May, according to YouGov BrandIndex data.

Says Greenpeace’s senior climate change advisor, Charlie Kronick: “At Shell’s AGM there were waves of satisfaction that they weren’t in BP’s position. BP is taking an almighty kicking, so this is an opportunity for [its rivals like Shell] to look good.”

However, Kronick has a number of issues with Shell’s ad, in particular the idea that global energy demand will double, leading to energy being “unlocked” from “hard-to-reach” places like Siberia. “Shell hasn’t got any interest in renewables; they’re still in the dig it up and burn it camp,” he adds.

Yesterday, the US President Barack Obama forced Shell to postpone its plans to drill in arctic waters (one of the hard-to-reach areas) for at least another year, while the reasons for the BP spill were investigated.

Dax Lovegrove, WWF UK’s head of business & industry, says this was the wrong time for Shell to be advertising such activities.

“The Mexican Gulf spill and Barack Obama’s remarks yesterday have shown that now is not the time for the energy sector to go after harder areas to reach where the risks to wildlife, communities and the climate are high, or to advertise such activities. Instead they need to re-orientate efforts towards harnessing the safe and abundant forms of renewable energy that surround us.”

There was no-one at Shell available for comment on today’s media push.

Shares at BP rallied yesterday amid hopes that its latest attempt to plug the flow of oil from the spill is working.

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