I didn’t go to International Women’s last Monday. I normally love going to such events: it’s an opportunity to catch-up with like-minded colleagues, a way to change mentalities in a male-dominated industry and a breath of fresh air. But this year, I just couldn’t go. I made excuses: I was swamped at work. You see, half of the team had Covid and we could barely attend the meetings we were supposed to attend. There was simply no time. Truth be told, it wasn’t the only reason not to go.
So what happened? Well, the Russian invasion in Ukraine has completely changed my view of the self-proclaimed Diversity and ESG champions. To cut a long story short, I can’t stand their hypocrisy any longer and I don’t want to be used as a token for their diversity posturing any more.
Let me explain: the company Shell bought a cargo of Russian oil after the invasion. They bought it with a massive discount -they paid $28.50 a barrel below the price. They said that they needed it in order not to disrupt supplies. Frankly, I doubt that not buying one cargo would have drastically changed anything. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine said it best ‘Doesn’t Russian oil smell of Ukrainian blood for you?’ Shell subsequently made several statements saying that they were appalled by the war in Ukraine. Guess what happened to them? Nothing of course. A few days later, bowing to public pressure, Shell announced its intent to withdraw from all Russian oil & gas. Nobody will be held accountable for their blatant disregard of Ukrainian lives. Their carefully crafted statements were all that mattered. The fact that their actions might have helped a brutal invasion counts for nothing. I had a look at the IWD Sponsors : Shell was one of them. And it didn’t seem to bother anyone. But how could a company pretend to care about women when it so blatantly benefitted from a violent conflict? Didn’t they see the pictures of women killed while giving birth in a maternity? Words fail me.
Mind you, the signs have been right in front of us for a long time. We simply chose to ignore them. Maybe I am an old-school sort of person. To me, protecting human lives trumps everything else.Protecting lives should always be a company’s top priority, even if it means that tough decisions have to be made. In the same vein, dangerous behaviours have to…