Shareholders request Valero issue a report, at reasonable expense and excluding confidential information, within a year and updated annually thereafter, on its climate transition plan to align operations and value chain emissions with a well below 2 degrees Celsius scenario, including short-, medium- and long-term reduction targets for Valero’s full GHG emissions (scopes 1, 2, and 3).
In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change advised that net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must fall 45 percent by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 to limit warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius and prevent the worst consequences of climate change.
A 2021 International Energy Agency report concluded that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would require no new internal combustion engine sales after 2035, nearly 90 percent of global electricity generation from renewable sources by 2050, and electrification of areas previously dominated by fossil fuels. Wood Mackenzie concludes that “survivors in this shrinking market for refined products are coastal, primarily [national oil companies]-owned integrated refinery/ petrochemical facilities located in industrial clusters with low-carbon operations . . .”
As policymakers, consumers and companies move to tackle climate issues with growing urgency, regulation of high carbon products will significantly increase as demand decreases. These transition risks pose fundamental challenges to companies like Valero Energy (“Valero”), the world’s largest independent petroleum refiner.
While Valero has adopted short-term GHG reduction targets, the Company does not provide a robust decarbonisation plan ensuring a resilient business model through the energy transition, exposing the Company to reputational, regulatory and transition risks. Valero’s climate action plan includes minimal absolute emissions reductions and an over-reliance on unverified “displaced emissions” with no reduction target or actions associated with scope 3 emissions.
Valero is falling behind peers in managing risks and opportunities of the energy transition and curbing its GHG emissions. Phillips 66 and Marathon Petroleum have set targets for their scope 3 emissions and are investing in multiple low carbon technologies and fuels. Integrated producers like Shell, bp, and Equinor have announced targets to reduce emissions and plans to align capital spending with lower emissions pathways.
Valero maintains that it leads the industry in producing low-carbon renewable fuels. Ramping up the scale, pace and rigor of its climate related initiatives could unlock further opportunities for growth in new renewable fuels, help strengthen financial resilience, and avoid investments in assets that will lose value as the global economy transitions away from fossil fuels.
In developing a report and assessing targets, we recommend, at management’s discretion:
• Developing a robust low-carbon transition plan, taking into consideration frameworks like Climate Action 100+ Net Zero Benchmark or Net Zero Standard for Oil and Gas Companies, showing evidence of implementation to meet Valero’s targets;
• Including a plan for capital expenditures necessary to implement the transition plan and meet targets; and
• Consulting industry best practice and third-party experts on target setting and carbon accounting methodologies.