Shell Sets Target to Provide Electricity to 100 million People by 2030

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By Ikenna Omeje

Royal Dutch Shell has set a target to provide reliable electricity to 100 million people without electricity in emerging markets by 2030, in its commitment towards helping achieve universal access to clean and affordable energy.

A significant number of the global population does not have access to electricity, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Shell, which announced in February 2021 that it has refreshed its business strategy with what it called Powering Progress, in response to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, said it powers millions of lives by providing energy for homes, businesses and transport, for cooking, heating and lighting.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Dutch Shell, Ben Van Beurden, stated this in the company’s 2020 Sustainability Report, released on Wednesday. The report highlighted what Shell is doing with regards to its climate target, environment, social investment, among others.

“We power millions of lives by providing energy for homes, businesses and transport, for cooking, heating and lighting. We power lives by paying taxes, boosting local economies and developing people. We also do this by helping achieve universal access to clean, affordable energy. Our ambition, by 2030, is to provide reliable electricity to 100 million consumers in emerging markets who do not yet have it,” Beurden said.

“Powering Progress sets out our goals for powering lives and livelihoods, and respecting nature by protecting the environment. It lays out how we believe Shell can and must play a role as the world accelerates towards a future of zero- and lower-carbon energy. It is designed to integrate sustainability with our business strategy.”

Shell  is among energy giants who have set  targets to transform into a net-zero emissions energy businesses by 2050, in support of the  ambitious goal to tackle climate change in the United Nations  Paris Agreement: to limit the rise in average global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Beurden said, “Becoming a net-zero emissions energy business means that we are reducing emissions from our operations, and from the fuels and other energy products we sell to our customers. It also means capturing and storing emissions safely underground using technology or balancing them with natural carbon sinks such as forests.

“We have set short-, medium- and long-term targets to reduce the carbon intensity of the energy products we sell, and have tied the short-term targets to our staff incentive structure. This includes lowering emissions from our operations, including the energy consumed in running them. It also includes the emissions from oil and gas that others produce and we then sell in our energy products – an industry-leading approach.”

He noted that while the company has made progress in diversity and inclusion over the years, there is still room for improvement in this regard. Speaking on gender equality, he said that as at the end of 2020, women occupied 27.8 percent in senior leadership positions at Shell.

“In 2020, the death of George Floyd and its aftermath underscored society’s problem with racism. Shell is part of society, and while we may have made advances in diversity and inclusion over the years, we have to acknowledge that we can do much better. For Shell, for me and the Executive Committee, these events have led us to seek a deeper personal exposure to racial injustice in Shell. We cannot take a stand in society, nor be a force for good, if we do not first fix ourselves.

“In 2020, we launched a global Diversity and Inclusion Council for Race, which I sponsor. The council aims to build on our actions to advance diversity in our workforce so it better reflects communities where we work and from which we draw talent. We will report publicly on our progress.

“We are making advances in gender equality. At the end of 2020, the proportion of women in senior leadership positions at Shell was 27.8 percent, an increase from 26.4 percent in 2019. We aim to achieve 30 percent representation of women in these positions by the end of 2021, 35 percent by 2025 and 40 percent by 2030.”

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