Shell announced an intention to achieve net-zero emissions in its manufacturing operations by 2050 in its annual briefing on responsible investment with shareholders last week. This goal represents an ambition to keep pace with the international community’s efforts to reduce the global mean temperatures by 1.5 degrees Celsius, as per the objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
CEO Ban van Beurden underscored the importance of Shell’s aims given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic having a serious impact on people’s health and our economies, these are extraordinary times,” he said. “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.”
Shell added that it will strive to serve other net-zero companies in its services and manufacturing operations by 2050 as part of its sustainable business plan.
Early last year, the company announced a three-year plan to reduce its Net Carbon Footprint by 2-3% relatives to 2016. The company intends to proceed by these three-year target reductions, updating them each year, in order to reach the 2050 goal.
Commenting on Shell’s efforts, Adam Matthews, a Co-lead of the Climate Action 100+ initiative partnered with the company, said “This announcement 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.”
This announcement represents the latest development in Shell’s work on reducing its Net Carbon Footprint begun in 2017, when the company announced its intention to cut down emissions on its energy products by half by 2050. In 2018, it updated these goals reflected in last week’s announcement to achieve 100% reductions by that year.
Shell noted that its operational budgets do not yet reflect these 2050 ambitions but that future documents will be updated to respect these movements.
Shell also announced a suite of actions it is pursuing to help customers, communities and colleagues affected by COVID-19. The company is offering what it calls “enhanced health and safety measures” at retail sites and free food and beverages for medical workers, delivery workers, and truck drivers at 15,000 retail locations in thirty countries. Shell also donated ingredients for hand-sanitizing products to several countries.