Realising the role of nature

We are increasing our investment in protecting or developing natural ecosystems, such as forests, grasslands and wetlands, to capture carbon and help our customers offset their emissions using carbon credits.

We recognise that nature-based solutions are a tool that can only ever complement, and not replace, other solutions we are deploying to help society move to a low-carbon future.

Investing directly in natural ecosystems

In 2020, Shell invested around $90 million in nature-based projects that reduce or avoid emissions and can also benefit ecosystems by improving biodiversity, water quality and flood protection.

In 2020, we acquired Select Carbon, a specialist company that partners with farmers, pastoralists and other landowners in Australia to develop carbon farming projects, where plants are grown and soil managed to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Select Carbon runs more than 70 carbon farming projects that span an area of more than 10 million hectares. The carbon credits generated by the farms are sold through the Australian government’s Emissions Reduction Fund and other markets, creating additional revenues for farmers and landowners. Select Carbon is our first acquisition in nature-based solutions.

Examples of Shell’s direct investments in natural ecosystems [A]

Click on the numbers below for more information

Shell’s direct investments in natural ecosystems (world map)

[A] Selection of nature-based solutions projects announced between 2019 and 2020


840,000 trees

to be planted on 700 hectares of wildfire-devastated land, together with the Tŝilhqot’in National Government



reforestation project in the Castilla y León region, together with Land Life Company


1 million trees

to be planted or regenerated in the Glengarry forest over five years, together with Forestry and Land Scotland


5 million trees

to be planted, together with Staatsbosbeheer, the independent Dutch state forestry service


20 hectares

of former agricultural land to be utilised for a reforestation project, together with Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesforsten AöR



project focused on endangered native forest regeneration in Queensland developed by Shell's QGC

[A] Selection of nature-based solutions projects announced between 2019 and 2020

Expanding carbon-neutral choices

In 2020, we increased the number of drivers and business customers who use our nature-based carbon credits to offset the life-cycle -equivalent emissions generated by their use of the Shell fuel they buy.

A tractor moving among trees at a reforestation project in the Netherlands. (photo)

We are increasing our investment in protecting or developing natural ecosystems, including in the Netherlands where we are working with the state forestry service to plant 5 million trees.

We have made driving available to our fleet customers in 12 countries and to retail customers at more than 4,600 service stations in Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK.

We also offer a range of products with nature-based carbon credits, including home energy in the UK, liquefied natural gas in Asia (see Natural gas), bitumen in Europe and selected lubricants.

How carbon offsets work

How carbon offsets work: When CO2 emissions cannot be avoided, an investment can be made in an independently-verified project. This project either removes CO2 or avoids emissions that would otherwise have occurred and issues carbon credits that can be retired to demonstrate that an amount of CO2 emissions have been offset. (infographic)

Emissions trading

We are one of the world’s most established traders of carbon credits and have been operating in compliance and voluntary emissions markets since 2003.

We have a global portfolio of nature-based projects, for example, the Katingan Peatland Restoration and Conservation Project in Indonesia, through which we can help our customers to offset their CO2 emitted from their use of fuels they buy from us. We also provide customers with tailor-made solutions for environmental compliance markets globally. Compliance markets are a mechanism through which companies can comply with environmental regulations and manage their emissions by trading carbon credits.

Screening our investments

In 2020, we strengthened our screening approach aimed at ensuring that nature-based credits used by Shell meet accepted standards of quality. All projects we invest in or buy from are certified under independent carbon credit standards. Each project must deliver broader environmental and social benefits and the organisations that develop the projects must maintain appropriate health, safety, security and social governance standards. Our project screening processes are audited by an independent third party.

Learn more about our work in nature-based solutions at

carbon dioxide
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The carbon dioxide equivalent life-cycle emissions of the product have been offset with verified nature-based carbon credits.
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