By John Donovan
Stumbled across this interesting correspondence conducted publicly via the letters page of the Financial Times several years ago between Sir Mark Moody-Stuart of Shell and Mr Tony Juniper, Executive Director, Friends of the Earth, London. As can be seen, Sir Mark scored a spectacular own goal. Got his facts wrong.
FROM OUR JUNE 2005 SHELL NEWS ARCHIVE
Shell Director Sir Mark Moody-Stuart & Tony Juniper, Executive Director, Friends of the Earth, exchange fire via the letters page of the Financial Times
Financial Times: Enjoy a free trip and get to ask Shell a question: By Sir Mark Moody-Stuart
Thursday 30 June 2005
By Mark Moody-Stuart
From Sir Mark Moody-Stuart.
Sir, Attending my last annual meeting of Shell as a director, I was interested to note that almost half of the 20 or so questions asked came from individuals from areas in the neighbourhood of Shell operations in Sakhalin, Brazil, Nigeria, the Philippines and the US. According to Craig Bennett of Friends of the Earth (FoE), who summed up their concerns, these people had been brought to England by FoE to reflect locally held views.
While certainly there are problems that need addressing around Shell’s operations, and which are proper subjects for discussion at an AGM, in my experience the views expressed did not fully reflect the facts on the ground or represent a cross section of local opinion.
I think there are reasons to question the independence of an individual who is offered a trip to London to ask a question. Should FoE perhaps report on the relationship in its next “Alternative Shell Report”? Are there concerns for corporate governance if a significant proportion of those asking questions at an AGM are part of an operation financed by one “membership organisation”?
Mark Moody-Stuart, London E1W 2NL
Financial Times: Letters: No longer just shareholders who have their say
Friday 1 July 2005
By Tony Juniper
From Mr Tony Juniper.
Sir, Once again Shell seems to have got its facts wrong (Letters, June 30). Friends of the Earth did not pay for community representatives to travel to this year’s Shell annual meeting as Sir Mark Moody-Stuart claims.
Perhaps if he, and others from Shell, were to spend more time talking to and meeting people in the communities where they work, then these people would not feel the need to attend the AGMs.
Because stakeholders are not listened to by Shell or by other big companies, their options for making their concerns known are limited. That is why it is time the UK government amended company law to ensure that affected communities are given rights and it is no longer just shareholders who have their say.
Tony Juniper, Executive Director, Friends of the Earth, London N1 7JQ