29 June 2004 - Shell directors, under fire for polluting communities and damaging people's health, promised to visit some of the affected areas when challenged by community representatives at the AGM in London today (Monday). People from Texas, Louisiana, South Africa and Nigeria travelled to the meeting with campaigners from Friends of the Earth to raise their concerns, publishing an alternative version of Shell's report for shareholders [1].

Challenged by Durban community activist Desmond D'Sa, company chair Lord Oxburgh gave his personal assurance that he would visit the Durban refinery and see for himself the pollution suffered by the community. Shell stands accused of operating to lower standards at its Durban refinery, where leaks and gas flaring are regular occurrences.

Speaking after the meeting, Desmond D'Sa from the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, said:
"Lord Oxburgh told me in the meeting he would come to Durban. These words must be turned into action and we must see him on the fenceline. Then he can see for himself what is happening there."

Ardiel Soeker, Air Quality Campaigner for groundwork (Friends of the Earth, South Africa) who is also attending the Shell AGM to add support to Desmond D'Sa and the South Durban communities struggle said:
"Shell's international directors need to take responsibility for the impact of their facility in South Africa and other parts of the world where they operate well below standards acceptable in Europe. Poor communities are sick and tired of having to bear the brunt of Shell's double standards.

Communities want to see concrete action on the ground to reduce pollution, minimise accidents and spills and improve their quality of life. Shell has shown it cannot be trusted to implement the high standards it talks about; it is time it was forced to do so.

Friends of the Earth is campaigning for new corporate accountability legislation in the UK which would introduce campaigning for changes to UK company law so that financial obligations are counterbalanced by social and environmental concerns. Specifically, the Government must introduce:


For more information, please contact groundWork at (033) 342-5662
or SDCEA at (031) 461-1991

[1] Behind the shine - the other Shell Report 2003 is available online at:

Ferrial Adam
Research, Media and Corporate Accountability
groundWork, Friends of the Earth, South Africa
P.O. Box 2375, Pietermaritzburg, 3200, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 33 342 5662
Fax: +27 (0) 33 342 5665
Cell: +27 (0) 84 484 3387
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