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The ludicrous claim that Shell is the world’s best oil company in sustainability, CSR, governance, ethics and transparency

By Alfred and John Donovan: 26 February 2007
Article and Open Letter To Dr William Cox

The following is an extract from a PRNewswire press release published on 21 February 2007.

“For the fourth consecutive year, Shell is the world’s best oil company in sustainability, social responsibility (CSR), corporate governance, ethics and transparency, according to the 4th annual oil/gas ranking by the sustainability research and rating firm Management & Excellence (M&E), Madrid.”

We published the PRNewswire release together with a headline insert (*absolute BS) and a related explanation at the foot of the article:

The headline: PRNewsWire: Shell World’s Most Sustainable and Responsible Oil Company 2007 (*Absolute BS)

Our comment:
*Comment added by John Donovan of This PR report must qualify as the biggest load of BS in the history of PR propaganda. Amongst the claims, it says that Shell has been number one in ethics and transparency for the last four years. That includes the time period of the reserves scandal when three senior executives were forced to resign and Shell paid hundreds of millions in fines and settlements. The debacle made headlines around the world was described as the biggest fraud in corporate history (on a BBC programme) and a related multi-billion global class action lawsuit is still in progress. Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer has confirmed that Shell has already set aside £500 million to settle. It will not be enough. What about the PR debacles in Ireland and Sakhalin-2? Have the clowns responsible for this rubbish not visited the Wikipedia article covering Shell’s reputation. Unlike this report, it is a balanced and neutral article.

Dr William Cox, the Managing Director of the Spanish company responsible for the report took umbrage at my comments and we received the following email from him on 23 February 2007.

From: Dr. William Cox, Management & Excellence SA [[email protected]]
To: [email protected]

Sent: Fri 23/02/2007 11:16

Subject: Shell most sustainable oil company

Who sits in a glass house shouldn´t throw stones. I can´t find anything minimally serious, objective or clean about your website.

Clean up your act!

Dr. William Cox
Managing Director
Management & Excellence S.A.
C/ Serrano 93, 3
28006, Madrid
Tel: +34 915902950
Fax: +34 915902955

We sent a friendly response (below) inquiring if Shell is a client of his company. We await a reply. His company operates on a commercial basis.  We are non-profit making and do not even accept advertising or donations. We are not seeking a penny from anyone, including Shell.

We note that Dr Cox decided to launch an attack on our website instead of setting out a reasoned argument in support of the survey findings. Was his company unaware of the extremely negative events in recent years involving Shell which reflects badly of the honesty, integrity and competence of Shell management?

Dr Cox implies in his email that we are not “objective”. There is nothing new in that accusation. We are often accused of being anti-Shell. The reverse is the case if the criterion is support for Shell’s Statement of General Business Principles requiring honesty, integrity, transparency and respect for people in all of Shell’s dealings. We endorse and support the SGBP 100%. That is what puts us at odds with hypocritical Shell executives who say that they support the principles and then engage in fraud, cover-up and other morally repugnant misdeeds.

Our email of 23 February 2007: –


Dear Dr Cox


Thanks for your email.  I am delighted to hear from you.

Before I provide a substantive response, can you please let me know if Shell is a client of your company?


John Donovan


For the complete article/Open Letter, go to…


This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

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