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Reputational damage from Shell Brent Spar episode

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Extracts from an article by Dr Roger Barker published 26 March 2014 by under the headline: How to balance your director duties with stakeholder management

…the pursuit of “corporate wealth” should not be about generating a “fast buck” for shareholders but should also take into account the impact of a business’s activities on other relevant stakeholders. It promotes a sustainable business model that eschews short-termism, stock market pressures or short-term bonus cultures and seeks to make the board focus on longer-term goals. 

The consequences of ignoring these principles tend to catch up with companies after a while, both in terms of commercial and reputational impact. Witness the drubbing that Shell Oil received a few years ago when it decided to sink the Brent Spar oil platform in the North Sea – while this was later demonstrated to be the best way to dispose of the platform in terms of the environmental impact, Shell had failed to put enough energy into dialogue with potential critics before taking the decision, and their reputation suffered.

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