Shell has confirmed to City A.M. it has “paused” its annual general meeting (AGM), after it erupted into chaos this morning with activists storming the event in Methodist Hall, London.
Dozens of protestors from groups such as Extinction Rebellion derailed the proceedings, chanting slogans such as “Shell Must Fall” and holding banners as Shell chair Sir Andrew Mackenzie tried in vain to start the meeting, while hundreds more gathered outside.
Some activists have glued themselves to the building, while police have now arrived at the venue to try and restore order.
Noisy protests including drums and megaphones have continued on the road outside the venue.
The Shell board stayed on the stage for over 40 minutes amid activist chants before the company’s chief executive Ben van Beurden departed the building and the event was put on hold.
Mackenzie told shareholders: “We are very keen to have the debate that democratic society would like us to have around many of the issues. Your board will remain and we actually ask you as shareholders to stay with us and online as we seek help to manage this. This is so we can have an opportunity to say our side of what we want to say.”
Shareholders are voting on Shell’s climate transition plans today after the energy giant filed a motion – Resolution 20 – which commits the energy giant to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 alongside multiple carbon intensity goals.
However, investor groups such as Follow This believe the proposals lack sufficient short and medium term goals, and are too dependent on new technologies such as carbon capture tools.
They argue the plans do not currently align with the Paris Agreement, which pledges to keep global temperature rises to two degrees or lower from pre-industrial levels.
Alongside environmental issues, they argue a lack of short term targets means Shell will be scrambling to reach its environmental goals in later decades, which will have an adverse effect on the business.
They have filed a counter proposal – Resolution 21 – that seeks to commit Shell to more targets and the climate change accords.
The protestors, who are calling on Shell to take a stronger stance towards the energy transition, also sang “We Will Stop You” to the tune of Queen’s hit “We Will Rock You”.
Protestors outside the venue accused Shell of “lacking heart” and “decency” and said any shareholders that backed its plans lacked decency.
The AGM is expected to continue later today.