Deloitte with Royal Dutch Shell

Best Use of Thought Leadership

Decarbonising shipping

Partnering with Shell to drive positive change in the industry

As one of the largest energy producers in the world, Shell recognises the pivotal role it must play in the transition away from hydrocarbons.

With a view to driving impactful change around this critical issue, Shell asked Deloitte to conduct research and develop a seminal piece of thought leadership on the topic of sectoral decarbonisation.

The shipping industry emerged as the first sector to explore due to several factors. Firstly, the industry is responsible for 3% of global CO2 emissions today. However, this number is expected to rise as it is the backbone of the global economy. Additionally, there are currently no commercially viable solutions available at scale to decarbonise the sector, and limited consensus around how to accelerate progress. As such, it was critical to offer a framework for guidance and next steps in order to accelerate action.

Given Shell’s position as one of the largest global fuel providers and charterers of vessels and global leadership in the energy transition, it was critical to design a methodology that would help galvanize action within the sector and accelerate progress. To ensure an actionable output that reflected the views of the industry the team conducted one-on-one interviews with 80+ senior shipping executives, spanning 74 major organisations, across 22 countries and most segments of the industry. The Deloitte team also facilitated a series of workshops with senior leaders across multiple geographies to test findings and co-create solutions.

This collaborative approach helped to surface deep industry insights and create buy-in to the output. As a result, many of the shipping executives who were involved in the process agreed to carry the dialogue forward into industry forums and drive action – a core objective of the project.

The outputs were published in the form of a report in July 2020, and external reception surpassed expectations. The report became one of Shell’s best-performing pieces of thought leadership globally, generating >15,000 unique website visitors, >11,000 report downloads, >2,000,000 social-media views, and earning media coverage from over 70 media outlets As further testament to its impact,  the report has provided valuable input into major global forums, like the Getting to Zero coalition, to help inform industry activity.

Deloitte’s work has also directly influenced Shell’s position and strategy around the topic. For example, Shell’s own plans were published shortly after the industry report, and include a recognition of hydrogen as its preferred zero-carbon marine fuel in line with the report’s findings[1]. Shell has also taken action to accelerate the development of hydrogen, and committed to a leading role in the ‘Sea Cargo Charter’; an agreement between 17 leading shipping companies focused on driving industry change.

Driven by the impact of this engagement, Deloitte and Shell have continued the partnership into other harder-to-abate sectors. A report was recently launched on road transport which has since surpassed the shipping report in terms of downloads, and is also being used to guide industry activity in major forums. The team has also started work on several other sectors, which will be released later in the year

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