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Business Report: take one share to Shell AGM

Business Report: take one share to Shell AGM

By Edward West

June 28, 2004

Cape Town – One share in Royal Dutch/Shell bought for £0.25 (R2.80) has enabled two environmental activists from South Africa, Desmond D’Sa and Ardiel Soeker, to attend the oil multinational’s annual meeting (AGM) in London today, where they will join a delegation spotlighting the group’s environmental record.

D’Sa is from an organisation called groundWork, while Soeker is from the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance. The two bodies had joined a network of environmental groups, headed by Friends of the Earth, to draw attention to the environmental plight of communities adjacent to Shell’s operations around the world, said spokesperson Ferrial Adam.

Last week Friends of the Earth launched a report accusing Shell, already under scrutiny for overstating its oil reserves, of polluting communities, damaging wildlife habitats and failing to live up to its promise of environmental and social responsibility.

D’Sa and Soeker wish to ask directors why they have not honoured a commitment made at last year’s meeting to clean up the Sapref refinery in Durban.

They intend to complain about Sapref’s “antiquated and leaking pipelines” and wish to question Shell’s apparent double standards of providing cleaner facilities in northern countries like Denmark, while providing dirtier facilities in South Africa.

They also want to know why the refinery is not dealing with its environmental issues, instead trying to “greenwash with feel-good projects such as new playgrounds and scholarships”.

Paddy Milner, a director of Shell South Africa, admitted that the pipelines at the refinery were old.

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