Yesterday it was announced that Shell had made £32billion in profits in 2022 after making around £8billion in the final quarter of the year – quite the bumper year for their shareholders! This was the largest profits ever recorded after smashing the previous record of £25billion they recorded in 2008.
In a year that’s seen the recovery from Covid continue and the breakout of war in eastern Europe, it seems incredible that a company can have such huge financial success. Based in the UK, Shell have seen huge success at the same time that the UK seems to be financially ripping itself apart and millions of people are plunged in poverty, in large part due to the incredible increases in energy prices. And I haven’t even mentioned climate change.
It seems some what crazy that Shell’s best years have come when parts, if not the whole world has been financially on its knees. The 2008 financial crisis that saw rates of poverty and homelessness rise enormously and countries reach the verge of bankruptcy. 2022 has been no better, yet these are the times that Shell and other major fossil fuel producers have profited most.
I had barely mentioned it earlier, but we still seem to be blindly walking deeper into the climate emergency. The planet continues to warm and the impacts become more and more obvious to us, yet we seem to be oblivious and continuing business as normal. Shell will argue that they are doing their bit to transition to renewables and investing in a cleaner future, and whatever other greenwashing nonsense they talk about, but in reality they’re continuing to put profits over the planet.
Even at a time when millions of people here in the UK are being plunged into poverty, and particularly fuel poverty, it seems almost sickening that a UK-based company can be charging such high prices that are having such a devastating impact on the public. For something that everyone is reliant on so much and still, unfortunately, runs the global economy. The extreme level of profiteering must be more closely managed no matter where those profits are made and where taxes are paid. It may be the case that only 5% of those profits were made in the UK, but we aren’t the only country struggling with inflation and the cost of living.
There are also more than enough countries Shell operates in that are still considered part of the poorer ‘Global South’; countries rich in oil and gas reserves but are exploited and taken advantage of with little regulation on their practices and a workforce primed for exploitation. No company should ever be able to make £32billion in profits in a single year.