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Shareholders back Shell’s net-zero strategy

The shareholders of Royal Dutch Shell have passed the company management’s plan to navigate the energy transition. Just under 89% of shareholders voted to approve the plan, although the poll is non-binding.

The oil major aims to be a net-zero carbon business by 2050, and it has already launched a range of carbon-neutral lubricant products.

Shell also came under pressure from some investors, who felt that its plans didn’t go far enough. A resolution was put forward by campaign group Follow This for the company to go further and set binding reductions for emissions. The resolution failed to attract the 75% of votes needed to pass, but it did gain support from 30% of shareholders, including the country’s largest fund manager, Legal & General Investment Management, which expressed concerns about the credibility of the plan in terms of reducing emissions enough.

According to The Guardian, Follow This founder Mark van Baal said:

“This is really a very strong signal to the board of Shell that their current targets are not sufficient to reach the [objectives of the] Paris climate agreement. That is what investors one by one are realising.”

The oil company must now consult with the shareholders and report back within six months.

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, however, argued that reducing the company’s oil and gas production would not benefit society while there is still demand for it, pointing out that another company will simply supply it instead. He said that while the company wanted to accelerate its transition to cleaner technologies, it had to do it in a profitable manner.

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