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Shell directors sued for ‘failing to prepare company for net zero’

The Guardian

Shell directors sued for ‘failing to prepare company for net zero’

Environmental law organisation ClientEarth brings action and urges other shareholders to join

The directors of Shell are being sued for failing to properly prepare the multinational oil and gas company for net zero.

In what is thought to be a first-of-its-kind action, the lawsuit brought by activist shareholders claims that Shell’s 13 directors are personally liable for failing to devise a strategy in line with the Paris agreement, which aims to limit global heating to below 2C by slashing fossil fuel emissions.

The lawsuit claims the failure puts the directors in breach of their duties under the UK’s Companies Act.

If successful, Shell’s board could be forced by the courts to change its strategy, taking specific concrete steps to align its plan with the Paris deal. But if the claimants lose, they could be liable for the full costs of the case, including directors’ legal fees.

ClientEarth, the environmental law organisation taking the action against Shell, said it was calling for other shareholders to join.

Paul Benson, a ClientEarth lawyer, said: “It’s the first of its kind, this case. It’s the first time that anyone has sought to hold the board accountable for failing to properly prepare for the net zero transition.”


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