Why is this important: The problem is, “in many parts of society everything we say is wrong,” he tells “Axios on HBO.”
What he says: ” Many governments don’t want to be seen listening to us, ”he said. “I don’t like it, but it’s still a reality. “
- “What I often think is not sufficiently understood is that companies like us are absolutely necessary for the solutions that the world needs. “
- “If you think that the energy transition is going to be solved by start-ups or companies that have not yet been invented, then I would say that you are dreaming.
Driving the news: Shell over several decades the move away from oil is put to a shareholder vote later this month.
- This is the first time that an oil “supermajor” has asked its investors to approve a transition and to start organizing regular progress reports.
- Some investor groups and activists don’t believe the goals go far enough and say they don’t match the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
- But van Beurden says Shell’s approach is to focus on how its oil and gas products are used versus how the company supplies them.
- “We sell four times more than we produce ourselves, [so] it would be a little pointless if we just said… we’ll produce a little less, but we’ll buy it from someone else at that point and bring it to market anyway.
The big picture: “The pandemic has shown how difficult it is to make this energy transition,” he said.
- Emissions have dropped dramatically during the pandemic (and have already resumed their ascent), but he says it’s unrealistic to replicate that impact after the pandemic subsides: “It just won’t happen” .
Be smart: Van Beurden recognizes that tackling climate change is also in Shell’s interests.
- Society itself is vulnerable to climate impacts – operations in the Gulf of Mexico are hit by hurricanes, liquefied natural gas terminals in the Middle East are in extreme heat – and demand for clean energy is already increasing, pushing the market in that direction.
- “Our actions are more in the light of self-interest than many people think, [which is that] everything is greenwash. ”
- “If we don’t adjust our operations, if we don’t adjust our product line, we will be caught at some point by other realities.”
The bottom line: Shell is trying to lay the groundwork for a future version of itself that will extinguish its current identity.
- Van Beurden has been CEO for seven years, but has been with the company all his professional life – 38 years.
- He has four children, the youngest 11, and by the time they go to college and see the Shell logo, he wants them to think and “believe that this brand is about progress … to solve the solutions that the world needs to solve one. client at a time. ”
- “My mantra is that if you don’t shape the demands, you are going to be shaped by them somehow. “
Axios’ Ben Geman and Andrew Freedman contributed reporting.