Shell boss Ben van Beurden promises to accelerate the reduction of CO2 emissions and to achieve “net zero” by 2050 according to the Dutch court ruling
Royal Dutch Shell boss Ben van Beurden has promised that after a damning lawsuit, the company will “take on the challenge” of meeting ambitious climate targets.
Shell had vowed to be net-zero by 2050 – that is, it will offset any emissions it creates.
However, a Dutch court ruled last month that the oil company must reduce its net carbon emissions by 45 percent from 2019 levels by 2030.
Climate Promise: Royal Dutch Shell has vowed to be net zero by 2050 – that is, it will offset any emissions it creates
Van Beurden said in a blog post that Shell will accelerate energy transition plans and cut emissions “in a purposeful and profitable manner” as the court’s decision is immediate, despite the company’s willingness to appeal.
The 63-year-old said: “This ruling does not mean a change, but an acceleration of our strategy.”
He added: ‘About two weeks later, I am still disappointed that Shell is being singled out by a judgment that I believe will not help reduce global carbon emissions.
“But together with my colleagues I feel something else: the determination to face the challenge.”
The climate boost comes as the FTSE-100 group tries to recover from the pandemic’s body blow that weighed on their finances
Last month, Judge Larisa Alwin ruled that Shell’s existing climate strategy was not “specific” enough and that the company had a human rights obligation to make it more robust.
Shell had set itself the goal of achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, but has not set any intermediate targets in the meantime.
The groundbreaking case was brought by the Dutch arm of the Friends of the Earth environmental campaign and more than 17,000 co-plaintiffs.
The ruling could have far-reaching implications for other energy companies. Shell and rival BP have come under heavy fire from activists and shareholders to convert faster into renewable energy companies.
Shell boss Ben van Beurden has long argued that attacking oil producers without also pushing for a change in consumption would not be enough to combat climate change
BP, led by Bernard Looney, is considered to be ahead of Shell, where there has been disagreement over strategy.
Days before the court ruling, Shell suffered a violent rebellion at its annual meeting. Around 30 percent of the votes cast supported a resolution by the Dutch campaign group Follow This to set binding targets for reducing CO2 emissions.
Shell expects CO2 emissions to peak in 2018 and total oil production to peak in 2019.
In addition to investing in renewable energy, the group has also developed plans to plant millions of trees and support forest projects.
The most recent pressures, however, come as it was restructured in the wake of the pandemic that posted a $ 15.6 billion loss last year.
It embarked on a major overhaul that will cut 9,000 jobs from its 86,000 employees as oil prices plummeted after severe lockdowns.
Van Beurden has long argued that attacking oil producers without pushing for a change in consumption would not be enough to combat climate change.