Shell is giving drivers the chance to offset their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions free of charge, when they buy fuel at its UK service stations, in a programme that will cost £10 million over the next 12 months.

The scheme, which launches next week on October 17, means drivers will automatically take part in the offsetting programme every time they scan their Shell Go+ app or card with their fuel purchase. Through the scheme, customers will receive a personal carbon statement, so they can see how much is being offset on their behalf.

Shell will offset customers’ emissions by purchasing carbon credits generated from projects in the UK and internationally that protect and regenerate forests. Over the next year Shell estimates it will spend approximately £10 million to purchase carbon credits to offset the fuel purchases of Shell Go+ customers.

"Switching to an electric vehicle is the best way for drivers to reduce their CO2 footprints and they can now charge on a growing number of our UK forecourts with 100% renewable electricity,” said Sinead Lynch, Shell UK country chair.

“But today the majority of people still use petrol and diesel. We can help them address the impact of their emissions by offsetting their fuel purchases, starting now.”

Today, around 20% of fuel sold by Shell in the UK goes to customers already registered with Go+. A similar service will also be available to business customers who use a Shell fuel card.

The launch in the UK follows a similar programme for drivers in the Netherlands, which Shell announced in April. It claims one in five Shell customers in the Netherlands are now driving carbon neutral.

Shell says the programme will contribute to its ambition to reduce its own Net Carbon Footprint. This covers all the emissions from the life cycle of its energy products: from finding and producing oil and gas and manufacturing products, to customers’ emissions from their use of the energy products they buy from Shell.

Shell has also launched a partnership in the UK with Forestry and Land Scotland, the Scottish government agency that manages and protects 640,000 hectares of Scotland’s forests and land. Over the next five years, Shell will work with Forestry and Land Scotland to generate carbon credits by helping to plant or regenerate around one million trees - an investment of approximately £5 million.

“Tackling the climate emergency involves a global effort – concerted, co-ordinated action across a range of approaches, including carbon capturing natural solutions, such as peatland restoration and woodland creation,” said Simon Hodgson, CEO of Forestry and Land Scotland.

“Scotland’s shared national endeavour of woodland creation is an intrinsic part of that global effort and working in partnership will help to increase the impact of our collective efforts. Shell’s partnership investment to create new woodland and help to regenerate Scotland’s forests and land, will play a vital role in helping us to realise our plans to create more woodland and help Scotland to achieve its ambition to be a net-zero emission country by 2045.”