Shell has for many years supposedly operated within an ethical code which, according to its current webpage on the subject, was first published in 1976.

This does not tally with the relevant pages in “A HISTORY OF ROYAL DUTCH SHELL, Volume 3,” about the history of the code – known in the 1990′s as the Shell Statement of General Business Principles.

Apparently they were first drafted in 1962, restated and first published in 1976, made freely available to the public from 1981 and reformulated in 1997, for the first time including human rights.

(According to the current version, they were last updated in 2005.)

The principles pledge “safe conditions of work” (Page 243).

In reality Shell management operated a “Touch F*** All” safety policy on North Sea platforms, which cost Shell workers their lives. Safety records were routinely falsified. After the Brent Bravo explosion, Shell admitted responsibility for avoidable deaths and received a record breaking fine.

According to page 307/8, relating to Shell business principles, criticism from Shell employees “should be considered an asset…”

In reality, Dr John Huong, who worked diligently for Shell for decades as a production geologist, was sacked after criticizing deliberate deception of Shell shareholders over claimed oil and gas reserves. Dr Huong is a deeply religious man with a conscience, so he did not fit in. The exact opposite of The Reverend Fraudster Sir Philip Watts.

Eight Royal Dutch Shell companies subsequently joined forces to obtain an injunction in an unsuccessful attempt to stop this website from publishing criticism emanating from Dr Huong. So much for another claimed virtue of the code: transparency. Shell buried Dr Huong in injunctions and threats of imprisonment.

A Shell executive, Mr John Johns, suffered a similar fate for his misplaced faith in the claimed principles.

Both Shell employees were deceived by comments and pledges about the principles made by senior executives, including Mark Moody-Stuart.


Mark Moody-Stuart, Group managing director, stated in 1996 that the public at large now demanded to be convinced that a company practised what it preached. This had clear implications for how Shell companies put their messages across: ‘a fine line had to be steered between a willingness to listen to others and maintaining the courage of one’s convictions’.

The following is a reference to the code in an extract from a letter that Moody-Stuart sent to the Guardian in response to their publication of an extraordinary article: “Unlovable Shell: Goddess of Oil” in November 1997:

“the Statement provides, for our employees to follow and for the outside world to judge us by, an ethical framework which is mandatory, not optional: just having those principles is not enough.  In the past: an oil company could say “trust me” and expect that to be enough.  Today, people say, “tell me” “listen to me” “show me”.  Trust has to be earned by transparency.  That’s one of the most important lessons we’ve learned in Shell”.

(Link to more extracts from the Moody-Stuart letter, published by the Guardian)

The supposed existence of and undying commitment to the ethical code was also used to bolster confidence in the integrity of the oil giant with oversight authorities.

For example, Form-20F declarations filed with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, which contained false information about the volume of Shell’s hydrocarbon reserves, made repeated reference to Shell’s business principles. Each such return was signed by a Shell executive director.

In reality, under the management of Moody-Stuart, “value creation teams” had been formed to conjure up proven oil and gas reserves from thin air. The deception, fraud, lies and cover-up, resulted in the biggest scandal thus far to engulf the company.

Many companies doing business with Shell no doubt felt, as we did, an extra sense of protection knowing that the company supposedly operated within an ethical framework.

Soon after it became apparent that a Shell executive had repeatedly stolen ideas we disclosed to him in strictest confidence, we raised the subject of the code (and continued to do so through the years).

Instead of honouring the pledge’s made in the code, Shell decided to back the thoroughly dishonest executive who had rigged a contract tender process so that a company which had not run in the race was miraculously awarded the contract. The company had a close association with the Shell executive.

We had rung alarm bells far and wide during Moody-Stuarts reign, warning that Shell management was unethical.

This is an extract from a leaflet distributed to Shell employees at Shell HQ buildings in London and The Hague:

I caution all businesses contemplating trading with Shell UK Ltd to be on their guard. In my experience, they are masters of double talk and double-dealing. It has at times proved almost impossible to extract the truth from this company.

Bearing in mind that Shell has pirated a series of ideas that Don Marketing disclosed to them in confidence, I take the view that they should fly a “skull and crossbones” flag over Shell-Mex House as fair warning to all who enter.

A press statement released by Shell gives some idea of the scope of our activities. We were told that it was drafted by an irate Shell Chairman.

People must have thought we were unhinged, but subsequent events described above, including the forced resignations of three Royal Dutch Shell executive directors, proved that our warnings were well founded.

We wondered at the time whether legal action could be brought against Shell based on non compliance with the pledges contained in the code?

Hence the self-explanatory correspondence below:

Letter to Shell General Counsel and company Secretary, Mr Richard Wiseman, dated 2 June 1997

Initial response letter from Mr Wiseman dated 3 June 1997

Considered response letter from Mr Wiseman dated 5 June 1997

Faxed letter to Mr Wiseman (Shell Legal Director) dated 22 April 2004

Response email from Mr Wiseman also dated 22 April 2004.

It struck me that although Shell said in its very carefully crafted response that “there was no intention to create a document for use in the court”, that does not necessarily rule out the possibility that the promotion of the code, on a global basis (e.g. the Profits & Principles campaign), has not created a right to bring legal action when Shell fails to honour its pledges.

In other words, although it might not have been Shell’s intention to create a document for use in the Courts, perhaps they inadvertently did so?

If there is no legal redress, then such codes amount to no more that a confidence tricksters charter when used by unethical multinationals, such as Royal Dutch Shell, to pretend otherwise.

Posted in: Alfred Donovan, Business Principles, Dr. John Huong, GoogleNews, Human Rights, John Donovan, Litigation, Oil, Outspoken Articles, Richard Wiseman, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Shell, Sir Philip Watts, The Guardian, United States.

Tagged: John Donovan · Oil · Royal Dutch Shell Plc · Sir Mark Moody-Stuart · Sir Philip Watts

via Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com.

via Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com.

About Old Boy

Love the past and the future but live in the present

Posted on December 7, 2012, in buisiness, Crime, environment, gas, Government, Health, International affairs, oil and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

90 +Wines in dublin

With a critical score of 90 points+


The Casual Way to Discuss Movies


...because it was never black & white


Trying to live a creative life


Movies, thoughts, thoughts about movies.


Saving you from one cinematic disaster at a time.

From 1 Blogger 2 Another

Sharing Great Blog Posts

Wonders in the Dark

Cinema, music, opera, books, television, theater

Just Reviews

Just another site

Mark David Welsh

Feeding Soda Pop to the Thirsty Pigs since 2013


Things I never thunk before.

News from the San Diego Becks

The life and times of Erik, Veronica and Thomas

The Silent Film Quarterly

The Only Magazine Dedicated To Silent Cinema

Leaden Circles

First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air.

My Archives

because the internet is not forever


Up to the minute, fair, balanced, informed film reviews.


A Shrine to Pop Culture Obsessiveness. With Lots of Spoilers

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

“Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be” – Peter DeVries


Viewing movies in a different light

Twenty Four Frames

Notes on Film by John Greco

Suzanne's Mom's Blog

Arts, Nature, Good Works, Luna & Stella Lockets & Birthstones

It Doesn't Have To Be Right...

... it just has to sound plausible

Rich Green Photography

The life of a photographer who likes to shoot just about anything.

Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)

Australian movie blog - like Margaret and David, just a little younger

Octopus Films

A place for new perspectives on films, TV, media and entertainment.

scifist 2.0

A sci-fi movie history in reviews

The Reviewer's Corner

The Sometimes Serious Corner of the Internet for Anime, Manga, and Comic related things

First Impressions

Notes on Films and Culture

1,001 Movies Reviewed Before You Die

Where I Review One of the 1,001 Movies You Should Watch Before you Die Every Day

Movies Galore of Milwaukee

Movie Galore takes a look at Silent films on up to current in development projects and gives their own opinion on what really does happen in film!

The Catwing Has Landed

A Writer's Blog About Life and Random Things

MIB's Instant Headache

Anime, movie, WWE reviews, amateur filmmaking and video edits

Gabriel Diego Valdez

Movies and how they change you.

The Horror Incorporated Project

Lurking among the corpses are the body snatchers....plotting their next venture into the graveyard....the blood in your veins will run cold, your spine tingle, as you look into the terror of death in tonight's feature....come along with me into the chamber of horrors, for an excursion through.... Horror Incorporated!

Relatos desde mi ventana

Sentimientos, emociones y reflexiones

Teri again

Finding Me; A site about my life before and after a divorce

unveiled rhythms

Life In Verses

Gareth Roberts

Unorthodox Marketing & Strategy

leeg schrift


100% movies. Except when it's about TV.

Morcan Books & Films

The site for a new perspective on books and films

%d bloggers like this: