Yesterday, [16 April] Royal Dutch Shell PLC updated its investors on plans to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner. The detailed steps, to be outlined at Shell’s Responsible Investment Annual Briefing, included:
-An ambition to be net zero on all the emissions from the manufacture of all our products (scope one and two) by 2050 at the latest;
-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%);
-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.” added Van Beurden
The first step in becoming a net-zero emissions energy business is tackling what are known as scope one and two emissions. These encompass emissions created by its own operations and the energy the company consumes.
The next step involves looking at scope three, which includes emissions created when customers use Shell products.This will involve making the products it sells, such as jet fuels and petrol more environmentally friendly, along with pivoting towards serving businesses and sectors that by 2050 are also net-zero emissions.
While these plans may sound like good news for the health of the Earth, environmentalist remain skeptical. In the past Shell has publicly showed its support for greener initiatives like the Paris climate accord, however, investigations showed that the company had spent millions of dollars on lobbying activities against climate policies.