Ben Van Beurden of Royal Dutch Shell told NPR that he wants the US to commit to the historic climate change agreement, signed by nearly 200 countries in December 2015, so that there is “predictability, consistency, and a level playing field” from which companies in his sector can operate going forward.
Mr Trump has waffled on staying in the agreement and announced he would wait until after the group of seven (G7) meeting in Italy on later this month to make a decision.
Andrew Logan, Director of the Oil and Gas Program at sustainability non-profit Ceres that works with large investors, told The Independent that “shareholder pressure is certainly part of the equation” behind Mr Van Beurden’s statement.
They are not the only ones to put pressure on the industry and the US. Many private sector investors, especially managers of multi-billion dollar pension funds and retailers, have called on the president to understand climate change and the purpose of the agreement using his much-touted business skills.
“It is clear that investors expect oil companies to have a credible plan for managing the low-carbon transition, and engaging on public policy is an important part of that,” Mr Logan said.
In short, stable US policy and a favourable view of the US in the world is good for Shell’s business.
Mr Logan said that though Ceres supports large investors like pension funds to divest their money away from oil and gas company stock, some investors prefer this type of pressure as shareholders.
“It is a means to actually change company behaviour, and to reduce risk for the investor. Simply selling a stock or divesting from a sector doesn’t do anything to change behaviour.”
He explains that the US pulling out of the Paris Agreement could result in “policy chaos, which [oil and gas CEOs]…