Shell dismisses opportunity to invest windfall profits in renewables 


Response Follow This to Shell’s third quarter profits and investments 

Shell’s third quarter results published today show another quarter of windfall profits of $9.5 billion (p.1) due to the high oil prices – a byproduct of the Ukraine war. 

“The current windfall profits from high oil prices should be used to make the enormous investments in renewables that are needed to address the climate crisis and reduce dependency on oil and gas fields tied up in geo-political conflict,” responds Mark van Baal, founder of Follow This. “We still don’t see Shell using this once in a lifetime opportunity to invest in diversification to ensure the long-term future of the company.” 

Investments in Renewables & Energy Solutions
In the first nine months of 2022, investments in “Renewables & Energy Solutions” were $2,393 million (cash capital expenditures on page 9, 14%) out of a total of $17,515 million (page 1). Renewables & Energy solutions includes natural gas*. Therefore, the company’s investments in renewables will be lower than 14%.  

“You can’t claim to be in transition if less than 14% of your investments is going to new, renewable energy businesses and at least 86% of your investments remain tied to old, fossil fuel businesses,” says Mark van Baal.  

“Without presenting a clear breakdown, it remains unclear how much Shell actually invests in renewable energy.”  

Share buybacks 

“Share buybacks show a lack of imagination. A company that buys back shares is effectively saying to investors: ‘We know of no better use for this money than to return it to you’.”  

“The energy crisis should not eclipse the climate crisis. Both crises must be dealt with simultaneously by shifting investments to renewables.” 

”Together with responsible investors, we continue to support Shell and other oil majors to set Paris-consistent targets and invest accordingly. Big Oil can make or break the Paris Accord”. 


Shell states that its “strategy aligns with the goal to limit the increase in the global average temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels” (slide 16). 

Recent analyses of Global Climate Insights, CA100+ Benchmark and Reclaim Finance shows that Shell is not aligned with a 1.5 degrees world. Moreover, under the IEA’s net-zero scenario, there is no room for new oil and gas fields; contrary to the activities of Shell, as the company is still planning to develop new oil and gas extraction assets (see Oil Change International’s briefing). 

With best regards on behalf of the Follow This team,   

Mark van Baal | [email protected] | +31 6 22 42 45 42
Roos Wijker | [email protected] | +31 6 37 01 06 79 

* According to Shell’s 2021 annual report (page 49) “Renewables and Energy Solutions includes Shell’s production and marketing of hydrogen, nature, and environmental solutions as well as our integrated power activities. Our integrated power activities comprise generating electricity through wind and solar; providing electricity storage; marketing and trading gas and power; selling gas and power to commercial, industrial and retail customers; providing electric vehicle charging services; and providing customers with digitally enabled solutions.”