Exxon Mobil announced Tuesday a goal of net-zero emissions from operations by 2050 but did not make a similar commitment for consumer emissions, which represent the majority of the oil giant’s output.
“We are developing comprehensive road maps to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from our operated assets around the world, and where we are not the operator, we are working with our partners to achieve similar emission-reduction results,” CEO Darren Woods said in a statement.
“We believe our strategy is unique among industry and enables us to succeed across multiple scenarios. We will create shareholder value by adjusting investments between our existing low-cost portfolio and new lower-emission business opportunities to match the pace of the energy transition.”
Exxon said the company’s net-zero operations goal would focus on areas such as reducing methane leaks and ending routine natural gas venting and flaring.
The announcement follows similar commitments by other major oil companies, including BP and Royal Dutch Schell, while Chevron has said it has a net-zero “aspiration.”
In August, Exxon was reportedly considering a more ambitious goal of fully net-zero emissions by 2050. Woods had previously referred to net-zero goals as “beauty competitions” and said competitors goals “[don’t] solve the problem.” Since then, the company has lost three board seats to an activist hedge fund that has pushed for firmer commitments.
The reported goal does not include either consumer use of Exxon products or oil fields. Consumer use, or Scope 3, comprises the majority of emissions associated with Exxon products. In a 2021 report, the company estimated consumer use of products comprised 1,300 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in carbon dioxide emissions, compared to 120 million metric tons in direct greenhouse gas emissions from the company.
ExxonMobil argued in the report that Scope 3 emissions “do not provide meaningful insight into the Company’s emission-reduction performance and could be misleading in some respects.”
The company previously said in December that it had an overall corporate-wide goal of reducing emissions 20 percent and net-zero emissions in the Permian Basin by 2030.