Shell security consultant resigns due to climate change with viral message

Shell officially changed her name on Friday, leaving “Royal Dutch”, which has been part of her identity since 1907.

Rick Wilking | Reuters

At 8:27 a.m. Monday, May 23, Caroline Dennett emailed 1,400 executives at the oil and gas company Shell to announce her resignation after 11 years as security consultant.

Dennett, who lives near London, told Shell’s executives and management to “look in the mirror and ask themselves if they really believe their vision for further oil and gas extraction secures a secure future for humanity.”

Dennett later posted a screenshot of his resignation email, a one-minute, 12-second video in which he explained his decision live on camera and a written explanation of his decision on the professional networking site LinkedIn.

During that time, his LinkedIn post received over 10,000 responses and over 800 comments, some from Dennett and some from Shell.

His market research business, Clout, began working with Shell in 2011 after BP’s Deep Water Horizon outbreak in the Gulf of Mexico began a new emphasis on safety precautions across the oil and gas industry. He was brought in to design, pilot and conduct a staff survey to understand how strictly safety precautions are being followed. With the information gathered, Dennet will make recommendations on improving the culture surrounding safety among staff.

Dennett did not take lightly the decision to stop doing business with Shell.

“The nerves came when I decided to do it, which was probably a few weeks ago, and I’ve been thinking about it for months, to be honest,” Dennett told CNBC on Tuesday. “You don’t have to make a hasty decision. It’s something you have to consider.”

But in the end, Dennett said, he could not continue working for Shell because he saw a conflict between the company’s focus on the safety concerns of individual workers in the position and the fundamental dangers of continuing to extract oil and gas and burn for energy.

Shell’s internal security program is called “Goal Zero,” and its goal is “no damage and no leaks,” Dennett said.

“Goal Zero is respectable, but they don’t equate it to the damage done on a large scale. It’s great to keep individuals safe and to try to prevent leaks that cause pollution and environmental problems, but if your core business is pumping CO2 into the atmosphere we “I know we can’t survive, we can’t do what we’ve done for the last 30 years,” Dennett told CNBC.

“There’s something wrong with that.”

Why he broke off the relationship

If Dennett thinks the shale is making a positive effort to convert carbon offsets from a source of energy to a clean source of energy, he says he would.

But that was not what he observed. In contrast, Dennett was asked to reformat a safety survey so that it could be used for new projects in pipeline and rig construction. And that’s when Dennett decided that what he was seeing was “not right,” he told CNBC.

“It wasn’t just those two projects. I knew more was coming down the line,” Dennett told CNBC. “It’s going to be four, five, six, seven more.”

The second reason Denette says he left is because climate change has not been discussed internally.

“We have all the data from the survey, people have every opportunity to give open opinions and they do it – a few thousand words about protection. There is very little talk about climate change or anything like that and environmental issues, pollution without knowing. In the local community, “Dennett said.

“And you just think, why isn’t this happening? Probably in the PR department and the marketing department and the brand communication department, I suspect they’re not talking about anything else but how they can present themselves as a more sustainable company. But if that conversation is operational. If it’s not happening on the front line, then it says it’s not culture. “

Shell has a new energy portfolio and Dennett has worked with that department. But they are more of a side project in Dennet’s eyes.

“It’s not very real,” Dennett said. Small acquisitions like a German battery company, for example, “really felt like window dressing.”

“If the core of your business pumps CO2 into the atmosphere at a rate we know can’t be sustained, we can’t do it the way we’ve done for the last 30 years.”

Caroline Dennett

Founder, Clout Market Intelligence and Research

Shell told CNBC that it was committed to its decarbonization goal.

“Shell is committed to delivering our global strategy to become a Net Zero Company by 2050, and thousands of our people are working hard to achieve this. We have set short, medium and long term goals and have every purpose to hit. The company said. “We are already investing billions of dollars in low-carbon energy, although the world will still need decades of oil and gas to come to a sector that cannot be easily decarbonized.”

Shell Clout is not the only customer. And Dennett knows that he is privileged to decide to cancel his contract with Shell.

“I know people who are at the forefront of this industry have no choice. They don’t really have a choice – it’s oil and gas or bust,” Dennett told CNBC.

In Europe, North America and some other regions, there are places for the employment of skilled workers, especially if they have engineering skills or other technical skills.

“But in places like Nigeria, there really isn’t much, and local communities are so devastated by pollution that traditional farming and fishing are very, very limited,” Dennett told CNBC. “You might go to another oil and gas player, but it’s the same, just jump from one to the other.”

In the end, Dennett hopes the shell leaders will hear his message.

“They’re a strong company that can do a lot better in the world,” Dennett said. “It’s a shame they have all the power and ability to do it. I really want them to have a vision and a strategy for the future that doesn’t involve climate risk.”

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