Shell aims to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, or sooner if possible, as it focuses on its intention to “lead and thrive” through the transition to a low-carbon energy future.

In a recent Responsible Investment Annual Briefing the company’s chief executive Ben van Beurden revealed:

*An ambition to be net zero on all the emissions from the manufacture of all Shell products 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.

“This is going to take a lot of work,” stressed van Burden. “It will not be easy. Some of the necessary technologies – like hydrogen-powered planes, or zero-emissions ships – do not exist yet. And, today, Shell’s business plans will not get us to where we want to be. That means our business plans will have to change over time as society and our customers also will have to change overtime.

“Ultimately, succeeding in our ambition will mean that, by 2050, all Shell’s own operations and the customers we serve will, in combination, be net-zero emissions.

This would be in line with society’s ambition to achieve a 1.5oC outcome, it would be in step with society, and it would be in line with our own strategic ambitions.”

Van Burden said being in step with society is key to maintaining a strong societal licence to operate, and that by staying in step with society as it shifts towards a net-zero emissions future, “we are also setting ourselves up to thrive through the energy transition”.

“And by thriving through the energy transition, we are doing the work we need to do to be a world class investment case for many decades to come,” he stressed.

“If Shell can succeed in its ambition, if we can succeed in becoming a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, we will truly have succeeded in being an integral part of that net-zero world. There is no more ambition that we can have than this, to be a core part of the future, a future that society wants and a future that society needs.

“And that is what being a net-zero emissions energy business means to Shell. That is what Shell now intends to do. And we will work with our customers so that we can achieve it together.”