Helping Royal Dutch Shell join climate change conversations

In recognizing that the debate about climate change has ended, Royal Dutch Shell decided to focus on the policy associated with mitigating climate change. Shell wanted to engage the informed public on the topic of climate change policy through a very personal venue. In January 2009 rather than relying solely on traditional media or advertising, Shell opted to launch its first ever public blog on the subject of climate change.

Shell selected David Hone to author the blog. David serves as Shell’s Senior Climate Change Advisor and is also a board member and vice chairman of the International Emissions Trading Association.

To date, the David Hone Blog has covered a broad range of topics ranging from electric cars to global carbon trading. The blog has featured a variety of captivating content to include a video interview with high profile environmental authors such as James Lovelock – author of The Vanishing Face of Gaia, a video interview of Dr. James Reilly of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Joint Program on the Science & Policy of Global Change, and a personal diary sharing stunning photographs of a recent trip to the Antarctic.

From the outset, the David Hone Blog has focused clearly on the practical side of implementing climate change policies. The blog is lightly moderated and all contributors are informed of the house policy. It has attracted a range of comments and has taken Shell into a more open and personal conversation with its key online audiences.

One of the reasons Shell chose to start blogging was to give a more transparent and rounded view of the organisation. Readership of the David Hone Blog is growing, and it has gained in influence since it’s initial launch. Well-known climate change scientists, policy advisors and senior politicians now read it.

As a consequence of his blog writing, David has developed a relationship with the Energy Collective and is now a regular contributor. His posts have also been re-published by Grist and will soon appear on He also is syndicated on at least 14 other climate change blogs.

The Financial Times has highlighted the David Hone Blog on its energy blog and pointed out Shell climate change advisor David Hone makes some interesting points on his blog ahead of the pre-Copenhagen negotiations taking place in Bonn The Wall Street Journal has also written about the David Hone Blog, commenting that Shell is attempting new ways to reach its audiences.

The blog has attracted a wide range of considered comments on individual posts and has received over 19,700 views and more than 7,100 unique visitors.

Shell’s Global Media team initiated the blog and is now in the process of creating a media blog. It was supported by ItsOpen and Headshift who are providing advice to help Shell’s Media team develop its blogging and social media strategies and engagement policies.

Anecdotal feedback at conferences and among other communications teams from other organisations has been positive and Shell has been praised for highlighting global climate change policy online, using the blogosphere to listen and engage with the groundswell of opinion about climate change issues.

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