Millennials fight back against Shell’s attempt to woo them at ‘Make the Future’ festival

| 9th July 2018
Climate protesters
Shell is hoping to recruit its next generation of talent at a recruitment event in Olympic Park, London. And it hopes its investment in renewable energy will justify its slick slogan Make the Future. But millennial climate activists are calling them out, reports BRENDAN MONTAGUE

When we heard about the event happening in the Olympic Park we were furious at Shell’s blatant hypocrisy.

Climate activists staged an anti-greenwash dodgeball game outside Shell’s Make the Future festival at the Olympic Park, London, yesterday.

They also invited young people to take photos with a poster pledging they wouldn't not work for Shell while the company continues to invest in fossil fuels.

Shell’s Olympic Park event is part of an international PR push under the banner of Make the Future banner, aimed at convincing young people that the oil industry is a desirable employer.

Shale oil

A 2016 report by McKinsey showed that millennials are shunning the oil industry more than any other sector, as they look for careers that make a positive contribution to society.

This weekend’s festival has been heavily advertised around the capital for several weeks, emphasising the company’s interest in green tech.

Although Shell recently announced they would increase their investment in clean tech, it still amounts to only a small fraction of their overall investment.

Shell bowed to shareholder pressure and in November last year  increased investment in their new energy division from $1bn a year to $1-2bn, less than six percent of its $25-30bn total annual investment.

To put this in further context, Shell plans to invest $5bn-$6bn a year in deepwater drilling, and $2-3bn a year for shale oil and gas.

Blatant hypocrisy

The dodgeball game follows an action last month where members of ‘subvertising’ group Brandalism installed mock Shell adverts across sites in London, Leeds, Oxford and Bristol to criticise the Make The Future advertising campaign.

Groups involved in the dodgeball action include Divest Hackney, Fossil Free Newham, Fossil Free Islington, Art Not Oil, Medact, Divest London and Fossil Free London.

Alethea Warrington from Fossil Free London said: “This whole Make the Future campaign is sickeningly cynical and transparent.

"Shell’s investment in clean tech is tiny compared to their work extracting and burning fossil fuels, including deepwater drilling.

Delicate places

"When we heard about the event happening in the Olympic Park we were furious at Shell’s blatant hypocrisy.

"But we figured the best way to react against it was with a laugh, which is why we decided to take on Shell by playing dodgeball.”

Camilla Zerr from Divest Hackney said: “Shell is playing games with our planet and we've had enough.

"Shell aren't just working to burn a load of fossil fuels that we know have to stay in the ground - that, in itself, is bad enough - but they are searching for whole new sources of fossil fuels. And they're doing that in some of the most dangerous and ecologically delicate places on Earth."

This Author

Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist.

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