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Shell 'apologises' for worldwide damage in "erratum" to annual report

Tuesday, May 17th 2011 11:21:38am

For Immediate Release

New report displays 12 cases of environmental and social wrongdoing

(THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS, May 17, 2011) During the Shell annual general assembly (AGM) in The Hague, today, Friends of the Earth International presented an "erratum" [1] to Shell’s  2010 annual report.  In this spoof "erratum", which was distributed among shareholders, Shell 'admits' that it is "causing a lot of unwanted and unnecessary damage" in its global oil-gas- and biofuels operations. The company also states that Shell "has learnt from these mistakes" and pledges to take "full responsibility to prevent and mitigate costs for the environment and people affected by our operations".

The "erratum" published by Friends of the Earth International today highlights 12 cases from 5 different continents. It displays climate and other environmental impacts from Shell’s oil and gas operations, but also shows the involvement of Shell in the violation of human rights and labour irregularities, such as those resulting from Shell’s joint venture with Brazilian biofuel producer Cosan S.A., which has been linked to slave labour and violations of labour rights. Furthermore, the report lists cases of corruption and interference with politics in order to ensure business profits. The erratum, which should serve as a wake up call for Shell's shareholders and board, is backed by an in-depth report about the 12 cases involving life threatening pollution, bribery, slavery and violation of national and international laws.

Paul de Clerck, coordinator of the corporates campaign at Friends of the Earth International, said: "We expect that the promises in the erratum we wrote for Shell will become reality. Shell is aware of the damage it is causing to the environment and of the violation of rights of local communities that it is involved in. We want the company to take measures to restore this damage and to prevent further wrongdoing".

During the presentation of the "erratum" to Shell’s shareholders and board, today, representatives  from different communities affected by Shell’s wrongdoing were present:

Eric Dooh, a Nigerian farmer who is taking Shell to court in The Netherlands [2] for refusal to clean up oil spills in his fishponds and on his fields said: "Oil spills from Shell pipelines caused the water and agricultural land in our village to be severely polluted. We want Shell to clean up the pollution so we can fish and farm again".

Lionel Lepine, representing the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in Canada said: "Shell’s tar sand operations are disrupting our traditional way of life. They are destroying our air, water, land and medicinal plants and the birds, fish and animals we depend on to sustain our people" Mr. Lepine also
stated that "Shell's footprint in our lands will have a multi-generational effect on our children not yet born, they are violating our Indigenous rights, the rights of our sacred Mother Earth and we are here at their AGM to put them on notice that we will stop them."

Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada said, "Shell’s horrific legacy of pollution is exposed for all shareholders to assess.  FOE calls on each and every shareholder to insist that Shell address historic wrongs and cease and desist in creating new toxic legacies."

Friends of the Earth International demands from Shell that the company:

• Cleans up pollution and compensates victims
• Improves maintenance of its operations to avoid new cases of pollution
• Reduces the carbon footprint of its operations
• Terminates operations posing severe risks to water supplies, health, agriculture  and biodiversity, such as high-volume gas-fracking, tar sands, Arctic and deep sea drilling
• Ceases the violation of human rights and compensates victims.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Paul de Clerck, Friends of the Earth International, +32-49-4380959 (Belgian cell), paul@milieudefensie.nl (English)

Romel de Vera, Friends of the Earth International, +63 906 305 7097 (Philippine cell), mel.devera@lrcksk.org (Spanish/English)

Friends of the Earth media coordinator, +31-20-6221369 (Amsterdam office), media@foei.org (French/ English)

For the court case in The Hague, please contact the press department of Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) : + 31-20-5507333 or persvoorlichting@milieudefensie.nl (English/Dutch)

Beatrice Olivastri, Friends of the Eatch Canada, 613 724-8690 (cell) 613 241-0085x26 (Ottawa office) beatrice@foecanada.org

NOTES

[1] The spoof erratum can be downloaded here (www.foecanada.org)

[2] On May 19, Eric Dooh will for the first time face Shell in court during a hearing in The Hague. For more information about the court case and about what will happen on May 19, please visit: www.milieudefensie.nl/english/shellinnigeria