Responsible Investor

Oil, Covid and renewable energy

Producers and consumers look beyond "Black Gold"

For a long time, the energy sector has been transitioning away from oil and towards resources with low or zero environmental impact thanks to the development of renewable energy.

Falling oil prices, which culminated in April 2020, have accelerated this transition; most oil producing companies and countries, as well as consumers, have started to look beyond oil, despite prices slowly stabilising once again during 2021.

With its Green Deal, Europe is a frontrunner in the global energy transition and aims to set CO2 emissions to zero by the year 2050.

However, crucial initiatives for a real transition "beyond oil" are coming from oil producing countries and economies with the highest polluting emissions: China, the world's largest oil importer, is leading the way in the renewable sector with no less than seven companies active in solar energy, placing the country among the world's top ten.

China is also among the leading global producers of wind power along with the United States, with 55.9 percent and 18.19 percent respectively of capacity installed in 2020. Another fast-growing intermediate sector is low-emission fuels and CO2 capture and storage.

The Covid-19 crisis has also shown that investors still strongly favour sustainable investments: mutual funds and those investing in assets with high environmental, social and governance (ESG) scores held up the best during the market crash of March 2020 and, according to several analysts, are set to grow in 2021 and attract new investors.