If we are going to solve climate change, yes, we need brilliant green companies like Tesla, and lots more of them. But much more than that, we need many, many companies that are not green now to get greener—and, ultimately, green. We need compa- nies like GM and Volkswagen; like Lafargeholcim and Maersk—and, if I might add—companies like bp.
I love the way Mark Carney puts it—he’s the former governor of the Bank of England—and now a UN climate advisor. He’s a true leader in this space. He says, to solve climate change, we have to go to where the emissions are.
And where are the emissions? They’re in energy. They’re in trans- port. And they’re in heavy industries like steel and cement. Those three sectors account for around 70% of all global emissions.
So absolutely we need more solar companies, more wind companies, more battery companies, more compa- nies like Tesla building EVs. We need more green companies—but green companies are not going to be enough. The world can’t create or grow enough of them fast enough to get to net zero on a Paris timescale. That’s just not realistic. The world also needs what I call ‘greening companies.’
So, what is a greening company?
It is a company that is high in carbon today and wants to be lower carbon tomorrow.
That’s greening put very simply, but it’s more than that—having aspi- rations is not enough.
To be a greening company, you have to do a number of important things:
• One—you have a clear and cred- ible plan for your net zero transition.
• Two—you have to have near- and medium-term decarbonizing targets and aims as part of your plan.
• And three—you have to be open and public about those targets and aims,
VITAL SPEECHES OF THE DAY208
so you can be scrutinized and chal- lenged on the progress you are making.
That way, people can see what you want to do. People can see how you intend to do it. And people can see if you are doing what you said you would do—and call you out if you’re not doing it.
So, to come back to the question of who should have a seat at the table…
Is it the people who advocate for a greener world, or the people who run greening companies?
It’s good that the rule of six has gone because the answer, emphati- cally, is both.
We need a bigger table
We need everyone around it. We need the people who drive change AND the people who can deliver change.
We need the people who are gen- erating the momentum for change through the power of persuasion, argu- ment and advocacy—AND we need the people who can deliver change by transforming their companies.
And not just transforming what they do—but transforming in a way that brings people and communities along on the journey. This is only going to work if no one gets left behind. We all have to do this together.
Now, it’s not going to be easy
Transitions are complex, they are messy, and they don’t lend themselves to simple solutions.
We are ready for that at bp and we are in action on our plan to diversify and decarbonize the company—our plan for greening bp.
We’re growing low carbon businesses and shrinking our oil and gas business.
By 2025, we’ll expect to be invest- ing eight times more in low carbon than we did in 2019, and 10 times more by 2030—that’s around $5 bil- lion a year of low carbon investment.
At the same time, our plan is to make our oil and gas production 40% smaller by 2030—40% smaller. That is on a scale that no other company like us is planning to do right now.
It goes against decades of indus- try history—decades of grow, grow, grow. We’re doing the reverse—we’re going to shrink. And the oil and gas we continue to produce, we aim to do so increasingly efficiently and profit- ably—which is incredibly important, because it’s where the money comes from to invest in growing low carbon businesses.
That’s the core of our ambition to get bp to net zero by 2050 or sooner. And by 2030—by reducing produc- tion and getting more efficient—we aim to have cut our operational and production-related carbon emissions by up to 40%.
That is our plan, and we don’t just think it works for the planet. It works for bp and our shareholders because trillions of dollars need to be invested in replumbing and rewiring a lower carbon global energy system.
And we are at a moment in time right now with a unique set of circumstances.
As the world comes out of the pandemic, there is a huge desire to recover better.
Where people’s jobs are part of a planned transition.
Where a fairer chance in life is part of a planned transition.
And I genuinely believe that— because of the size and scale and need for what we do—a just tran- sition depends on whether or not greening companies like bp succeed or fail.
bp is one of an increasing num- ber of greening companies already in action. But without help, progress is going to be slow. To do this better and faster, we need support.
We can move faster if there is global support for policies, incentives and regulations that make low carbon choices easier and cheaper than high carbonones. The so-called decarbon- ization premium.