Shell in push to become net-zero energy business by 2050

  • Outlook & strategy

Oil major Shell has revealed its plans to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner.

With this plan, Shell joins other majors like BP, Equinor, and Neptune Energy.

Following an in-depth review examining the alignment of the climate-related policies and activities of trade associations with BP’s positions, BP also said it would leave three U.S.-based organizations in an effort to reach its target of becoming a net-zero company by 2050.

Equinor also plans to reduce the absolute greenhouse gas emissions from its operated offshore fields and onshore plants in Norway with 40% by 2030, 70% by 2040, and to near zero by 2050.

Neptune Energy has recently revealed its targets to reduce carbon and methane intensity by 2030 from the managed production of its low-cost, long-life portfolio.

Shell will today update investors on its plans to become a net-zero emissions energy business (covering scope one, two and three emissions). The detailed steps will be outlined at its Responsible Investment Annual Briefing today.

Shell’s steps towards net-zero

These steps will include an ambition to be net-zero on all the emissions from the manufacture of all its products (scope one and two) by 2050 at the latest.

It will also include accelerating Shell’s Net Carbon Footprint ambition to be in step with society’s aim to limit the average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

This means reducing the Net Carbon Footprint of the energy products Shell sells to its customers by around 65% by 2050 (increased from around 50%), and by around 30% by 2035 (increased from around 20%).

Shell’s steps will also include a pivot towards serving businesses and sectors that by 2050 are also net-zero emissions.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic having a serious impact on people’s health and our economies, these are extraordinary times. Yet even at this time of immediate challenge, we must also maintain the focus on the long term”, said Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Shell.

“Society’s expectations have shifted quickly in the debate around climate change. Shell now needs to go further with our own ambitions, which is why we aim to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner. Society, and our customers, expect nothing less.”

“This announcement significantly increases Shell’s ambitions and commitments,” said Adam Matthews, Director of Ethics and Engagement of the Church of England Pensions Board, Board Member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, and Co-lead as part of the Climate Action 100+ dialogue with Shell.

“It is indicative of Shell’s confidence in not only navigating the immediate situation but rightly sets the focus on developing net-zero pathways in key sectors that shape the demand for energy. Ultimately, it will be by developing and supporting net-zero pathways in these sectors that we will achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Peter Ferket, Chief Investment Officer of Robeco, Co-lead as part of the Climate Action 100+ dialogue with Shell, said: “These new ambitions build on the 2018 joint statement between Shell and Climate Action 100+. It proves that the strong and committed engagement of institutional investors with Shell can help accelerate the pace of change to deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement. It raises the bar and sets out an approach for others in the oil and gas sector to follow.”

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