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Shell and BP Score High Marks in Greenwashing: Champions in the Art of Low-Carbon Lip Service

Posted by John Donovan 26 August 2023

Hats off to Shell and BP for being so forward-thinking! The oil giants, alongside 10 other European companies, have been examined under Greenpeace’s microscope and—wait for it—have been accused of greenwashing. 

According to the analysis, Shell and BP have gone above and beyond, generating a whopping 0.02% and 0.17% of energy from renewable sources in 2022. And to think, some people say they’re not committed to the environment.

When it comes to investments in the utopian green future, BP’s heart really swelled as it allocated a generous 97% of its investments towards fossil fuels. Shell, not to be outdone, threw 91% of its chips into the fossil fuel basket too. What do you expect? Good intentions need to be bankrolled, right?

Kuba Gogolewski from Greenpeace summed it up best: “Their already inadequate decarbonization plans are an empty shell; instead of providing desperately needed clean energy, they feed us greenwashing garbage.” Ah, music to the ears of anyone who’s tired of corporate fairytales!

For BP, their ‘sustainability goals’ are like a broken record—promising the moon but delivering a pebble. Shell, on the other hand, enjoys a creative interpretation of numbers, claiming 6.4 gigawatts in “renewable capacity” for 2022. Although, they conveniently forgot to mention in big bold letters that this includes plants still under construction or up for sale. The real figure? A less impressive 2.2 gigawatts, snuggled away in a footnote.

According to the Greenpeace report, the dozen companies they scrutinized still derive an average of 99.7% of their energy from fossil fuels. But not to worry, they’re all “committed” to reaching net zero by 2050. How they’ll get there is anyone’s guess because maintaining or even increasing oil and gas production until 2030 sounds like a solid plan to fight climate change, right?

BP naturally said that the Greenpeace report “misrepresents its investments and strategies.” Shell also got in on the action, stating that they’re planning to invest 10-15 billion dollars across 2023 to 2025 in low-carbon solutions, including “biofuels, hydrogen, electric vehicle charging and CCS.”

In the end, Mr. Gogolewski tells it like it is: “Governments need to stop enabling fossil fuel companies, heavily regulate them, and plan our fossil fuel phase-out now. They will never change on their own.”

As always, Shell is invited to correct any “factual inaccuracies” in this tale of corporate sustainability lore.

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