March 15 (UPI) -- Royal Dutch Shell is committed to playing a leadership role in the transition to a low-carbon global energy sector, the company said Thursday.
"As the global population grows and living standards rise, it will mean society meeting increasing energy demand with an ever-lower carbon footprint," CEO Ben van Beurden said in a statement. "We will play our part."
In June, Shell announced it was signing on to a transparency measure on climate steered by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg steered efforts through the multilateral Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, which said the transition to a low-carbon economy could require as much as $1 trillion in net investments per year.
Bloomberg, who chairs the task force, said transparency could help investors evaluate the risks and the rewards of the transition to a greener economy. Companies ranging from Bank of America to Dow Chemical Co. had already backed the initiative in early 2016 and Shell at the time was the only oil and gas company to endorse the recommendations.
"Over the next few decades, we plan to show leadership in the oil and gas industry, while responding to society's need for more and cleaner energy as the world moves to a low-carbon energy system," Shell's CEO said.
Its endorsement followed a proposal from Norwegian energy major Statoil to change its name to Equinor, taking the word "oil" out of its name in an effort to reflect an energy landscape extending deeper into renewables.
Shell reported earnings attributable to shareholders in the fourth quarter of $3.1 billion, about triple the level from the same period in 2016. That metric for the third quarter, however, was closer to $3.7 billion.
Shell is still trying to trim down and retool its operations after its 2015 mega merger with British energy company BG Group. In an outlook for first quarter 2018, the company offered a mixed review on earnings from exploration and production, saying earnings could be negatively impacted by the reduction of hundreds of thousands of barrels in production lost to divestment.
Van Beurden added his company was committed to cutting "the overall footprint of our energy products by around 20 percent by 2035 and by around half by 2050."