Global energy giant Shell has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.
The announcement, which seems to be at odds with Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden recently suggesting ‘we have no choice’ but to invest in fossil fuels, is the result of engagement with investors as part of Climate Action 100+, led by the Church of England Pension Board and Robeco.
Steps include an ambition to go net zero in terms of the emissions from the manufacture of all its products by 2050 and ‘accelerating progress’ to limiting global average temperature rises to 1.5°C in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change – this means reducing the carbon footprint of the energy products Shell sells to its customers by around 65% by 2050 and by around 30% by 2035.
Stephanie Pfeifer, Member of the global Climate Action 100+ Steering Committee and CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, said: “It’s imperative we see companies across the entire oil and gas sector put strategies in place to achieve net zero emission if we are to tackle climate change. This applies to the fuels and products companies sell, as well as emissions from operations.
“Investors will now look to other energy companies to match, and build on, the welcome ambition Shell is showing. Engagement with Shell will also continue as investors support the company in taking the steps needed to align its business with the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
In response to Shell’s Responsible Investment Annual Briefing update, Richard George, Head of Greenpeace UK’s Climate Campaign, said: “A credible net zero plan from Shell would start with a commitment to stop drilling for new oil and gas.
“Instead, investors are being fobbed off with vague aspirations that don’t tackle Shell’s monstrous carbon footprint and pass the buck to Shell’s customers to offset their emissions. This is not a net zero plan, it’s a plan to drive us deeper into climate emergency, which will continue to put lives and livelihoods at risk.”