The court has come to the conclusion that RDS is obliged to ensure through the Shell group's corporate policy that the CO2 emissions of the Shell group, its suppliers and its customers are reduced. This follows from the unwritten standard of care applicable to RDS, which the court has interpreted based on the facts, widespread consensus and internationally accepted standards.
The Shell group is one of the world's largest producers and suppliers of fossil fuels. The CO2 emissions of the Shell group, its suppliers and customers exceed those of many countries. This contributes to global warming, which causes dangerous climate change and creates serious human rights risks, such as the right to life and the right to respect for private and family life. It is generally accepted that companies must respect human rights. This is an individual responsibility of companies, which is separate from states' actions. This responsibility also extends to suppliers and customers. RDS has an obligation of result with respect to the Shell group's CO2 emissions. As regards its suppliers and customers, RDS has a significant best-efforts obligation, which means that RDS must use its influence through the corporate policy for the Shell group, for instance by setting requirements on suppliers in its purchasing policy. RDS has complete freedom in how it meets its reduction obligation and in shaping the Shell group's corporate policy. The required sacrifices outweigh the interest served by fighting dangerous climate change.