Corporate Watch and the Centre for Climate Crime and Climate Justice, Queen Mary University of London, publish a new report, ‘The Carbon Cash Machine‘, revealing the dramatic rise in cash earnings of shareholders in Britain’s big 2 oil companies since the Paris Agreement was signed in December 2015.
As record temperatures soar and food prices continue to rise as a result of climate change, BP and Shell shareholders are raking in their highest ever levels of cash earnings, according to a new report* published by Corporate Watch and the Centre for Climate Crime and Climate Justice, Queen Mary University of London.
Sophie of Corporate Watch, co-author of the report, said, “The biggest shareholders in BP and Shell have tripled their earning power since the Paris Agreement. Media outlets need to stop giving column inches to their greenwash because if there was ever any belief that they were making positive change for the climate, this report thoroughly dispels that.”
The report uses a unique analysis of financial data* to calculate the cash earnings of shareholders in Britain’s big 2 oil companies since the Paris Agreement was signed in December 2015. It found that:
- Shareholders in BP and Shell have earned a total of £131 billion in dividends and share buybacks combined.
- Annual earnings for BP shareholders have more than tripled (rising 240%); annual earnings for Shell shareholders have almost tripled (rising by 194%).
- The top 8 shareholders have significantly expanded holdings in BP and Shell; those 8 companies have raked in a total of £28.7bn in cash earnings from both BP and Shell.
The report also analyses the ESG (Environmental, social, and corporate governance) strategies of the top eight shareholders in BP and Shell. It raises significant questions about the failure of fossil fuel divestment strategies and market solutions to climate change.
Co-author of the report David Whyte, and Director of the Centre for Climate Crime and Climate Justice, Queen Mary University of London, said: “As the world burns, shareholders are getting record cash payouts from their fossil fuel investments. This report shows that we will not be able to stem the flow of oil unless we stem the flow of cash to rich investors.”
‘The Carbon Cash Machine’ Report is available here.
*Findings are based on a unique analysis of financial data generated by the S&P Capital IQ database.