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Dirty Shell

Printed below is an English translation of an article published today by the Dutch Financial Times, Financieele DagbladRoyal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil each own a 50% share in NAM, the company responsible for the earthquake blighted Groningen Gas Field and consequential potential bill for untold billions in damages to effected residences.

We thank scarce technical talent for a career at ‘dirty’ Shell

Van Beurden emphasizes time and time again that Shell wants to be a company that not only pleases its shareholders, but also has an eye for a changing society. But at the same time it has to do with green activism among shareholders, a climate law case of Milieudefensie, allegations of corruption in Nigeria and, through NAM, co-responsibility for the Groningen earthquakes.

Johan Leupen: Bert van Dijk • Economics & Politics

The status of Shell as a favorite employer for technical students is a thing of the past. Young, highly educated technicians often prefer sustainable companies. They do not want to work for a company that uses old energy sources such as oil and gas.

This is evident from a tour of technical students and headhunters. ‘We see that companies such as Shell have been particularly troublesome,’ says Joost Fortuin, director of recruitment and headhunting agency Page Group Nederland. ‘Many technicians from Delft do not want to identify themselves with this type of companies anymore. You do not contribute to a better, more sustainable world. ‘

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden acknowledges that the image of his company poses problems on the labor market. A student from Delft University of Technology, traditionally the breeding ground for talent for the British-Dutch energy group, said last month after a lecture by Van Beurden that Shell is going to belong to the category of employers that includes weapons manufacturers. Anyone who goes to work at Shell must ‘always answer to everyone’, the student said. “I do not know if I can handle that in ten years.”

Van Beurden then said: ‘I also have to justify myself from time to time, at birthday parties, barbecues and at the breakfast table. And yes, I think the problem has become bigger. ‘ Van Beurden, like many other high-ranking Shell directors, also studied at TU Delft.

At the annual survey of research firm Universum among technical students, Shell dropped from place four to place seven. At number one is the ‘green’ car manufacturer Tesla.

It becomes a problem

If talents overwhelm fossil companies en masse, that can quickly become a financial problem for such a company, says Fortuin from Page Group. ‘The market for engineers was already tight last year. You can now speak of a battlefield. ‘

Van Beurden emphasizes time and time again that Shell wants to be a company that not only pleases its shareholders, but also has an eye for a changing society. But at the same time it has to do with green activism among shareholders, a climate law case of Milieudefensie, allegations of corruption in Nigeria and, through NAM, co-responsibility for the Groningen earthquakes.

‘There is no sustainable awareness at Shell’

‘In 2050 we have to be rid of oil and gas. I wonder whether this is true at Shell, “says Michiel Bots (21), who graduated cum laude in mechanical engineering at TU Delft. ‘The company is more of an inhibitor than a driver of the energy transition. That is why it is a less interesting business for me. ‘ Bots leaves Shell consciously as long as the company does not seriously commit to sustainable energy. He is a trainee at the Dutch Association for Sustainable Energy.

A spokesperson for Shell says it expects the popularity of the company to increase again as students become more familiar with the ‘ambitions, innovations and working culture’ of Shell.

Fortuin van Page Group however speaks of a ‘structural change of mentality’, with the Netherlands leading. He points, among other things, to the decision of the Cabinet to halt gas production in Groningen in 2030. Under pressure from the anti-fossil sentiment, companies such as Shell have to cross the border more often to recruit talent, with all the housing problems, Fortuin signals . ‘Shell is no longer conducting job interviews with candidates, but the candidates are having a job interview with Shell.’

Older generation still has to get used to climate problem

Shell tries with all kinds of programs to convince young people that the company is indeed committed to renewable energy, but the newly graduated mechanical engineer Bots does not think it is a very serious matter within Shell. ‘Ultimately, the source, oil and gas and its processing must become more sustainable.’

According to Shell, Shell is also working on this, but at the same time states that the world still needs oil and gas for decades. ‘Anyone who does not want to work for an energy company wants to go on holiday, wants to have an iPhone’, says Van Beurden.

The question is whether Shell can convince its future generation of employees. “We grew up with the climate problem,” says Bots. “The older generation may have to get used to it.”

SOURCE

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1 Comment on “Dirty Shell”

  1. #1 Keith
    on May 1st, 2018 at 16:19

    BvB says that he a caring type but in reality he doesnt. If he did care then why does Shell not deal with my case of reckless beta radiation exposure while working at AFPC / SSPD in Syria. The consequences have effectively destroyed my life and left a wife and child in poverty due to lack of support

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