In February 2023, ClientEarth filed a landmark case against Shell’s Board of Directors, challenging their failure to prepare adequately for the energy transition. A milestone in climate litigation, this is the first time a company’s board has been confronted on its failures to fulfil its legal duties to manage climate risk. The lawsuit argues that Shell’s Board is breaching its legal duties under the UK Companies Act by not addressing climate change risks that could affect the company materially and predictably.
As a shareholder, ClientEarth seeks to strengthen Shell’s energy transition strategy through the case in the High Court of England and Wales. Independent analysis reveals that Shell’s current strategy would only lead to a meagre 5% reduction in net emissions by 2030.
The lawsuit sets a significant precedent in climate litigation, holding company directors accountable for managing climate risks and preparing their companies for the transition. Despite the High Court’s initial dismissal, in May 2023 ClientEarth was granted a hearing to request reconsideration of the landmark case.