Shell: master of the makeover?

11 December 2020 — DESMOGUK

A fresh policy, a new logo, a sharp haircut, a feel-good ad.

Rebranding – personal, professional or political – is a powerful tool that can reshape the narrative and win over hearts and minds.

Shell is a master of the makeover. Looking at its Twitter account, you might assume the company had recently burst forth, Phoenix-like from the flames, on an altruistic mission to help us irresponsible individuals fight our carbon-filled existence – asking innocent questions like “What are you willing to change to help reduce emissions?”

Shell’s announced some ambitious targets and is increasing its investments in low carbon energy, but that’s still just a tiny proportion of its overall business model. And let’s not forget, research shows it’s responsible for around 2% of all global emissions between 1894 and 2010. To add further insult to injury, Shell has known about the causes and dangers of climate change for nearly 40 years.

This week, the oil giant was back in court in the Netherlands – not that it featured on its social media accounts. It’s accused of “unlawful endangerment” by knowingly undermining the world’s chances of keeping global average temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

On the brink of the fifth anniversary since the treaty was signed, is it really good enough for those most responsible for pollution to continue to ignore the climate crisis, while continuing to greenwash with abandon? A new look is unlikely to cut it.

Read our full coverage of the ongoing legal action against Shell

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