Client Earth appeals High Court decision on Shell
Campaign group Client Earth will appeal last week's UK High Court decision which dismissed a lawsuit against Shell's board of directors over risk management.
The case, filed in February with support from institutional investors including Nest and LGPS pool London CIV, aims to hold Shell's directors accountable for their alleged failure to prepare for the energy transition and address the climate crisis.
The High Court dismissed the case, arguing that it imposed obligations on Shell's directors and questioning the claimant's motives due to their limited stake of 27 shares in the company.
Despite its limited stake, Client Earth is backed by an institutional investor group holding 12 million shares who share the concerns. They argue that Shell's energy transition strategy lacks credible short- and medium-term targets and clear scope 3 emission targets, which contribute significantly to the company's carbon footprint.
Nest's head of responsible investment, Diandra Soobiah, highlights the lack of transparency in Shell's alignment with the Paris Agreement as a concern.
“The oil & gas industry isn’t yet in line with the global transition to a green economy. That’s why we felt strongly about ClientEarth’s derivative claim against Shell- while the company has made some progress in developing its strategy, the lack of transparency they had on the scenarios used to determine its alignment with the Paris Agreement is concerning," Soobiah said.
"Their lack of short- or medium-term targets for its scope 3 emissions and the continued expansion of fossil fuels concerned us as asset owners, and ultimately being the guardians of how our members’ money is being invested."
ClientEarth senior lawyer Paul Benson emphasises the importance of Shell's board adopting a strategy that addresses climate risks in accordance with legal duties and expresses disagreement with the court's decision. Shell dismisses the case, stating that the claim is misconceived and that their directors have always acted in the company's best interests.
The plaintiffs now face the challenge of demonstrating the potential material damage caused by Shell's inadequate energy transition plan.