In Focus: Nature-based solutions
The world needs a range of measures to limit CO2 emissions while meeting rising energy demand. One important step is to look at where and how emissions can be avoided in the first place. Another is to reduce emissions through operational efficiencies. Investments in low-carbon and renewable energy products, including wind and solar, biofuels, batteries and hydrogen, are critical. Transforming the energy system will take time, so emissions that cannot be avoided need to be stored away through carbon capture and storage, and mitigated through nature-based solutions, like reforestation and preventing deforestation.
Nature-based solutions that protect and restore natural ecosystems can lead to the marketing, trading and sale of carbon credits, with each credit representing the avoidance or removal of one tonne of CO2. Shell is one of the most established traders of carbon credits in the world and buys these voluntary credits from a global portfolio of nature-based projects.
Each credit is registered in independently managed registries and can only be used once. The projects we work with are certified by the Verified Carbon Standard, currently the most-used voluntary standard for nature-based projects globally, and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard, which verifies that projects not only address climate change, but also support local communities and conserve biodiversity.
Carbon-neutral driving and transport
Shell offers drivers a range of ways to help them address their carbon footprint: from providing charging for electric vehicles to guidance on efficient driving. In 2019, we started offering customers nature-based carbon credits to offset the CO2 emissions generated by the extraction, refining, distribution and use of the Shell fuel they buy. We launched the programme in 2019 at more than 400 service stations in the Netherlands in April and at more than 1,000 UK service stations in October.
We also delivered the world’s first carbon-neutral LNG cargoes to Tokyo Gas and GS Energy. We used nature-based carbon credits to compensate the CO2 emissions generated – from exploration and production to use by the consumer. The cargoes provided enough carbon-neutral energy to power nearly 300 thousand homes for a year.
Our investments in the nature-based solutions projects worldwide
As part of our strategy to act on global climate change, Shell plans to invest at scale in natural ecosystems.
One example is a project led by the Netherlands National Forestry Department to plant five million trees over the next 12 years. We are also working to reforest 300 hectares in the Castilla y León region of Spain and have already planted around 300 thousand trees between April 2019 and January 2020. In the UK, we are working with Forestry and Land Scotland to generate carbon credits by helping to plant or regenerate around one million trees over the next five years, while in Queensland, Australia, we are restoring 800 hectares of endangered woodland.