Shell, one of the world’s biggest and richest companies, yesterday announced it would be pulling out of wind energy because the return on investment was not good enough despite all the government subsidies it gets.
Well thank you, Shell for leading the way to a greener future.
The Anglo-Dutch company had already halted investment in solar cell technology. Now instead, Shell will concentrate its green efforts on bio-fuel and the storage of carbon dioxide emissions, two areas with dubious green credentials. Bio-fuels use badly needed food crops as raw materials, while the storage of carbon dioxide is costly and uses lots of energy.
Most people understand that companies have to invest in their core business – oil in Shell’s case. But surely Shell should be committed to a long-term renewable energy strategy and be prepared to accept lower or no returns on a small part of its investment budget for the time being.
Shareholders may quibble about it but they should be encouraged to add social responsibility to their portfolios. What will happen to their investments once climate change reaches the tipping point?
And what are we actually talking about? Shell reportedly invested $1.7 bn in renewable energy over the past five years. This compares with an investment budget for this year of $32bn.
From companies like Shell we need vision, leadership and commitment to a greener environment – not penny-pinching.
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