Shell is aiming to become a net zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner, in step with society. Becoming a net-zero emissions energy business is a huge task, and the business plans we have today will not get us there. Shell’s plans must change over time, as society and customer also change. As part of our ambition, Shell aims to reduce the net carbon footprint of the energy products it sells by around 65% – an ambition that requires consideration of scope 3 emissions produced by customers.

However, we can’t achieve our ambitions alone. In the Future of Energy Challenge: Net-Zero Emissions, Net Impact chapter members are charged this year with finding innovative solutions to help reduce scope 3 emissions. The GHG Protocol Corporate Standard is an international guideline designed to help companies and other organizations identify, calculate, and report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It classifies emissions into three scopes:

  • Scope 1: direct emissions produced by company-owned facilities and operations
  • Scope 2: value chain emissions outside scope 1 operations. They are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy, sourced from outside facilities
  • Scope 3: value chain emissions outside scope 1 and 2, including emissions from suppliers, employees, and product users. E.g., in the case of Shell, scope 3 emissions include those that come from customer use of refinery and natural gas products (individual and commercial).

Scope 3 emissions tend to be greater volumetrically than scope 1 and 2 combined. These emissions are wide-ranging in what they encompass and vary significantly by company. Scope 3 emissions are often the most complex portion of a company’s GHG footprint, and because they are indirect emissions that take place down the supply chain and outside the company’s direct control, it is often more difficult for companies to address them in efforts to reduce their overall carbon footprint.

While mobility and plastics are deemed out of scope for this competition, solutions may address the following areas and examples:

  • Carbon technology (e.g. carbon capture and/or storage, direct air capture)
  • Infrastructure efficiency (e.g. smart buildings or fugitive emissions from gas usage in a community)
  • Material circularity (e.g. materials recycling and re-use, excluding plastics)
  • City-level solutions (e.g. electrifying infrastructure, green urban planning, carpooling incentives, smart cities)
  • Power: hydrogen, renewable, Storage (e.g. wind, solar, tidal energies)
  • Regenerative energy (e.g. waste to energy systems, wind turbines on highways, microturbines on rainwater runoff)
  • Energy access (e.g. microgrids in disadvantaged communities, resilient energy supplies)
  • Energy education (e.g. learning programs on efficient energy usage)

Amidst the complexity of supply chains, addressing scope 3 GHG emissions is an area with substantial opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to have an impact in the energy space. Shell is excited to invite the next generation of innovators to submit their solutions to this year’s Future of Energy Challenge.