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Shell letter to shareholders: fossil fuels will not create ‘carbon bubble’



In a letter to shareholders, oil giant Shell has said that it does not believe any of its proven fossil fuel reserves will become ‘stranded’ as a result of current or foreseeable future legislation concerning carbon reduction.

Whilst the letter notes that climate change risks are moving up the political and public agenda, Shell seeks to reassure investors that it is taking steps to minimise emissions and prepare for more significant action against carbon emissions.

The letter, signed by JJ Traynor, who heads up Shell’s investor relations team, states, “There is a risk that focusing on ‘stranded assets’ or the concept of the ‘carbon bubble’ distracts attention away for the reality of a growing population, increasing prosperity and growing energy demand.

“A fundamental transition of the energy system will be needed but that will take considerably longer than some alarmist interpretations of the unburnable carbon issue would have the public believe. Shell is focused on finding real solutions based on current energy realties to the widely acknowledged and real threat of climate change.”

The letter notes that the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report could lead to regulatory priorities changing relatively suddenly. However, it adds, that because of the “long-lived nature of the infrastructure and many assets in the energy system, any transformation will inevitably take decades”.

This, coupled with growing energy demand, which is particularly strong in developing nations, means that the “world will continue to need oil and gas for many decades to come”, the company says. Shell estimates that fossil fuels will account for 40-60% of energy supply in 2050 and beyond.

The letter states that whilst the stranded assets notion may “appear to be a strong and thought-through case” it has some fundamental flaws, including failure to acknowledge significant projected growth in energy demand, carbon capture and storage technology, natural gas, bioenergy and energy efficiency measures.

The letter sets out scenarios that show the world can tackle and resolve the climate issue “over the course of this century, but not in less time than that”.

It adds, “There is no doubt that we need a more robust and thoughtful societal debate on addressing CO2 emissions, but it needs to be one that recognises the possible and pays heed to the reality of the world today and is a frank acknowledgement of the cost to society inherent in large scale shifts of the energy system.”

In terms of the fossil fuel industry, stranded assets refers to fossil fuel reserves that must stay in the ground in order to mitigate climate change, making the assets effectively worthless as a result. The issue and what it means for investors has been moving up the agenda.

At the beginning of the year, Standard Life Investments warned investors to consider the sustainability of the companies they invest in to ensure they are now exposed to future risks that could negatively affect financial performance.

Meanwhile, the UK’s environmental audit committee has also stated that stock markets are at risk of instability because fossil fuel assets can become overvalued when climate change mitigation is factored in.

Photo: Lee Jordan via Flickr

Further reading:

Nigerian community takes Shell to court over oil spills

Shell suspends Arctic oil drilling plans

Shell’s grounded oil rig due to inadequate plans

Oil giant Shell, Total and Exxon report falling profits in Q3

Investors warn of ‘carbon bubble’ as Shell predicts climate regulation will hit profits


These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money




eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete |

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens |

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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