Royal Dutch Shell is continuing its recent climate-forward push as the company announced plans to invest in natural climate solutions and reforestation programs, along with a group of new renewable energy-powered EV chargers in the Netherlands.
Shell said it will invest $300 million in natural ecosystems as part of the gas and oil giant’s evolving strategy on climate change and addressing CO2 emissions. Shell has established a three-year target, starting this year, to reduce its net carbon footprint by 2–3%.
This announcement follows Shell’s recent decision to leave U.S. refining lobby American Fuel & Petrochemical manufacturers (AFPm) over “material misalignment” with the lobby’s positions on carbon pricing and fuel economy standards, among other factors.
Shell plans to offset CO2 emissions from its business with carbon credits, which it purchases from “a global portfolio of nature-based projects.” The company notes that “each carbon credit is subject to a third-party verification process and represents the avoidance or removal of 1 tonne of CO2.”
Shell announced a number of forest projects, including planting more than 5 million trees over the next 12 years in the Netherlands, in conjunction with Staatsbosbeheer, the independent Dutch state forestry service. The company will also create a 300-hectare reforestation project in Spain with Land Life Company, and an 800-hectare endangered native forest regeneration project in Queensland, Australia.
It may be purely coincidental, but Shell’s timing swiftly follows the recently announced Natural Climate Solutions campaign, a push to bring greater funding and awareness to the restoration of natural ecosystems as a way to remove carbon from the air and mitigate climate change.
Shell is also “investing in 200 new rapid electric vehicle charge-points, powered by renewable energy, on its forecourts in the Netherlands.” This is in addition to the company’s ongoing effort with IONITY to install 500 “ultra-fast” chargers on its forecourts across Europe, and Shell’s recent acquisition of EV fast charging installer Greenlots. Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said in a statement,
“There is no single solution to tackling climate change. A transformation of the global energy system is needed, from electricity generation to industry and transport.”
When it comes to tackling climate change, Shell is doing at least enough recently to ensure “an activist shareholder that filed resolutions for three years pressuring Royal Dutch Shell Plc to do more on climate change said it will withdraw the filing for 2019,” Bloomberg reports.
That investor group, Follow This, will continue similar resolutions filed with other companies such as BP, Chevron, and Exxon Mobil. But Follow This founder Mark van Baal said in a statement that, owing to Shell’s progress, the group will “give Shell time to bring that climate ambition into line with the Paris Climate Agreement.”
Again, as we’ve stressed before, there are certainly greenwashing concerns when it comes to Shell, as it is one of the companies a recent report found to be pumping money into “climate lobbying that is ‘overwhelmingly in conflict’ with the Paris Agreement.”
That being said, these initiatives are worthwhile (though a drop in the bucket when it comes to Shell’s total business). But we’ll likely see more of them as the energy transition continues, and as pressure increases — both from investors and the public — when it comes to climate concerns.
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