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Behind Total’s name change

Pressure from climate change activists

TotalEnergies’ rebrand comes at a time when more oil and gas companies are under increasing pressure to reduce emissions and accelerate the energy transition to green energies, and are stepping up investments in low carbon energies such as renewables, biofuels and hydrogen.

In fact, TotalEnergies is not the first oil major to try to present a greener public image.  Two decades ago, British oil giant, BP, rebranded and cast itself in an environmentally friendly light, changing its name from British Petroleum to “Beyond Petroleum” complete with a sunflower logo.

More recently, in 2018, Norwegian oil company Equinor changed its name from Statoil, representing a shift away from oil and gas. A year later, Baker Hughes rebranded itself as an energy technology company after General Electric reduced its ownership of the company to show its broadening mission within energy.

Meanwhile, American oil and gas giants ExxonMobil also recently added three climate-minded directors to its board, while shareholders at American oil major, Chevron, recently voted to urge the company to lower its customers’ greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Royal Dutch Shell’s energy’s transition strategy, published in May this year; it is working to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, in step with society’s progress towards the goal of the UN Paris Agreement on climate change.

“Shell is the first energy company to submit its energy transition strategy to shareholders for an advisory vote. We will publish an update every three years until 2050. Every year starting 2022, we will also seek an advisory vote on our progress towards our plans and targets,” said ChadHolliday, Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s chair.

“We have set our net-zero targets, and our short-and-medium term carbon intensity targets, so that they are fully consistent with the more ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement: to limit the increase in the average global temperature to 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels.”

“Most of our emissions come from the use of fuels and the other energy products we sell. So it makes sense to place our customers at the centre of our energy transition strategy. It is where we can make the biggest difference.”

“We will work with customers to change and grow demand for low-carbon energy products and services, sector, using the strength of our business relationships, knowledge and expensive.  We will increasingly offer low-carbon products and solutions, such as biofuels, charging for electric vehicles, hydrogen and renewable power, as well as carbon-capture and storage and nature-based offsets.”

According to Shell’s Powering Progress strategy, to accelerate its transition to net-zero emissions, including its targets to reduce the carbon intensity of the energy products it sells, Shell intends to reduce its carbon emissions by 6-8% by 2023, 20% by 2030, 45% by 2035 and 100% by 2050.

“Ending our activities in oil and gas too early when they are vital to meeting today’s energy would not help our customers, or our shareholders, added Ben van Beurden, Shell’s CEO.

“If we moved too far ahead of society, it is likely that we would be making products that our customers are unable or unwilling to buy.”

“That is why we wish to work together with customers, the governments and across sectors to accelerate the transition to net-zero emissions. Shell cannot get to net-zero without society also being net-zero.”


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