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Fossil fuel greenwash


Fossil fuel greenwash

15 February 2023

Despite growing pressure to curb greenwashing, oil and gas majors Shell and BP continue to promote environmentally friendly narratives their core business does not back up.

In the wake of a UK government warning in late 2021 to stop making misleading environmental claims, BP has more than doubled the amount spent on purchasing advertisements that greenwash its image on Facebook and Instagram compared to 2021.

Meanwhile Shell has continued to run greenwashing ads on Instagram without disclosing the ads relate to political issues as required by the platform. Meta has allowed Shell to re-publish essentially identical political ads without labelling them as such, and continued to profit from the greenwashing ads of polluting industries.

The vast majority of BP and Shell’s business is in fossil fuels

Contradicting the upbeat messaging of their ads are the stark truths of BP and Shell’s environmental track records and projections. Over the course of their history, these two companies alone have produced more than 137 billion barrels of oil and gas.  The scale of their production since 1965, considered the point when industry leaders knew the environmental impact of fossil fuels, puts them among the top 20 fossil fuel companies collectively responsible for more than one third of global greenhouse gas emissions in this period.

BP and Shell rank at number 6 and number 7 on the list of most polluting fossil fuel companies.  Their businesses continue to be dominated by fossil fuels, and their plans for further exploitation projects are incompatible with the measures the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) requires to mitigate global temperature rises.


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