Convenience charging?

Royal Dutch Shell has been on my mind recently for several reasons.

Firstly, I live in Epsom, Surrey and I have only just realised that not that far from where we live Shell has a fabulous sports ground by the river Thames in Teddington. Not a hugely exciting discovery, I grant you, but the first in a trilogy of Shell-related epiphanies this week.

More relevant to readers of Emerging Risks was the story we ran this week Shell’s female employees in Britain earned 18% less on average than their male colleagues in 2020, with the pay gap slightly narrowing from the previous year.

As we report in this week’s newsletter, in its annual UK diversity pay gap report, the company also published – for the first time – data on ethnicity which also revealed that the average pay and bonuses for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees was 8.5% lower than non-BAME staff.

Still, hats off to the company in some regards. At least the gender pay gap – defined as the difference in the average pay and bonuses of all men and women across an organisation – has narrowed in recent years: it stood at 18.7% in 2019, 18.6% in 2018 and 22.2% in 2017.

Credit should also be given to the oil giant for actually publishing the diversity pay gap report, the first time it has done so. It shows that, despite the shortcomings, it is taking the issue seriously and demonstrates a similar serious intent to redress the inequality.

The final reason I thought of Shell was an advert they placed on social media highlighting the (admittedly lovely) design of a new all-electric charging station, which a bit of research subsequently revealed is in leafy Fulham in London.

Which led me to think that, yes, electric cars are the future as we move beyond our dependence on fossil fuels. But all-electric charging stations need to sort out one major problem… charging times!

Even with the faster charging available it still takes approximately half an hour! Imagine doing that with a bunch of bickering siblings in the back. “Hold on kids, we’ll charge up… for half an hour!”

I guess it means you only charge for a bit at a time but that’s a massive inconvenience compared to petrol, no? I mean, 5 mins and you’re in an out with a lovely full tank at a petrol station… and you get to sniff the lovely fumes (just kidding).

More seriously, people are all for convenience. Green needs to be convenient if it is to become mainstream.

In a way, electric charging reminds me of the 60s designers of walkways in urban areas. They look great and all that but they are often not the most direct route, so if there is a piece of grass connecting A to B with a walkway round the edge of it people just walk across the grass and leave a torn-up bit!

Enjoy the read,

Marcus

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