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Shell starts to offset some drivers' carbon with new trees

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Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell will launch a programme allowing customers at its petrol stations in the Netherlands to offset their carbon emissions by buying credits to support environmental projects, the group said on Monday.

[LONDON] Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell will launch a programme allowing customers at its petrol stations in the Netherlands to offset their carbon emissions by buying credits to support environmental projects, the group said on Monday.

Shell plans to invest US$300 million over the next three years on the programme, it said.

The money drivers pay for the credits will be invested in projects, such as tree planting, in the Netherlands, Spain, Peru, the United States and Australia.

This scheme counts towards Shell's target to cut its net carbon footprint by 2-3 per cent within three years, including so-called Scope 3 emissions which are generated by Shell's customers rather than just its own operations.

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Other energy giants, such as BP and Total, have not yet committed to cutting their Scope 3 emissions.

"Shell buys these credits from a global portfolio of nature-based projects... Each carbon credit is subject to a third-party verification process and represents the avoidance or removal of 1 tonne of carbon dioxide," Shell said.

Dutch drivers will be able to use the credits for what Shell described as "carbon neutral" driving from April 17. The scheme will expand to other countries, starting with Britain later this year, it said.

"Shell's announcement signals that one of the world's biggest energy companies is pursuing a decarbonisation strategy with a broad set of solutions," Mark Tercek, chief of US- based environmental group The Nature Conservancy.

Shell drew rare praise from investors and environmental activists in December when it set out plans to introduce industry-leading targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and link them to executive pay.

An activist group said on Monday it had withdrawn a shareholder resolution calling on Shell to change its climate policy after the oil and gas company reached a broad agreement with investors on the issue.

REUTERS