How can the oil giants be green?

Visual Curator
Mariagiovanna Amodeo
English Translation
Rebecca Verrascina
Spanish Translation
Andrea Terrado
Federica Severgnini

The oil industry has long been the heart of debate on sustainability and environment. While the extraction and use of fossil fuels have been a key part of economic and industrial development, we cannot ignore the environmental impact this industry has had on the planet. With the growing recognition of the influence of the climate change and the growing ethical sensitivity among companies, the oil giants are striving to take steps to become greener.

The influence of the climate change

First of all, it is important to recognise the influence of the climate change. Many major oil companies have accepted the science which demonstrates the link between the use of fossil fuels and the increase in global temperatures. This acceptance is a crucial step towards the adoption of more sustainable policies and practices.

Ethics in the oil industry

Ethics have become a central issue for oil companies. Many of them have been criticized for their involvement in controversial transactions and for the profit-before-environment approach, adopted from the olden times. Today, we see a growing push towards business ethics, with a more rigorous focus on social and environmental responsibility. This progress is necessary to maintain public and consumer confidence.

Commitments to reduce environmental impact

Oil giants are making bold statements about their commitments to reduce environmental impact. These commitments include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting renewable energy and finding cleaner technologies for oil extraction and refining. These promises are underpinned by significant investment in research and development, and partnerships with environmental organizations.

Real/superficial actions taken

Although many oil companies are announcing actions to become greener, it is important to assess the depth and sincerity of such actions. Some may be perceived as superficial or aimed primarily at improving the corporate image. However, some companies are taking significant actions. Some are gradually reducing oil and gas production in favor of renewable energy. Others are implementing advanced technologies to reduce methane emissions.

Examples of positive change

In recent years, some of the giants of the oil sector have expressed important commitments to sustainability. They are also taking concrete measures to reduce the environmental impact of their activities.

  • Equinor. This Norwegian energy company has set itself the ambitious goal of becoming a zero-emission society by 2050. Equinor is investing heavily in renewable energy, including offshore wind and solar power. In addition, it is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to its oil and gas extraction activities. 
  • Shell. It announced its commitment to become a net-zero emissions society by 2050. The company is increasing investments in renewable energy, such as wind and solar power. It is developing technologies to capture and store carbon emissions. It is also promoting cleaner fuels and the adoption of electric vehicles. 
  • BP. It aims to become a “net zero” energy company by 2050. The company is focusing investments on renewable energy, including wind and solar power. It is reducing its oil and gas production. 
  • TotalEnergies. This French energy company has announced plans to become a “net zero” company by 2050. TotalEnergies is increasing investments in renewable energy, such as solar and offshore wind power, and is developing technologies to reduce carbon emissions in its oil and gas extraction and production activities. 
  • Eni. The Italian company Eni has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Eni is working to increase the production of natural gas, considered a cleaner fuel than oil. It is also exploring technologies to capture and store carbon emissions. 


These are just a few examples of companies that have implemented a change of course compared to the invasive practices of past years. It is important to continue to monitor the progress of these companies and ensure that they deliver on their commitments to reduce the environmental impact of their activities.

Oil giants are facing an unprecedented challenge in adapting to a world that demands greater sustainability and environmental responsibility. While some of these actions may seem superficial, there is a growing awareness of the need for real change. Oil companies that embrace an ecological vision and take concrete action are paving the way for a more sustainable future, proving that the oil industry can play a positive role in the fight against climate change. However, it remains essential that civil society and governments hold these companies accountable for their promises and encourage a continued change towards greater ecology.