Reliance Industries is a publicly listed conglomerate headquartered in India. It undertakes oil and gas exploration, production and refining and has an integrated role in the value chain. In 2020, it had USD 86.27 billion in revenue and a reported 195,618 employees*. In June 2021, the company announced a considerable low-carbon investment plan and renewable energy goals.
Reliance Industries aims to become net zero by 2035. However, the company provides no details on whether the target covers all company operations or if it applies only to scope 1 and 2 emissions or also includes scope 3. Furthermore, the company lacks any formal intermediate targets to reduce scope 1 and 2 and scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in the short- and mid-term. To demonstrate commitment to the low-carbon transition and hold itself accountable to achieve its net-zero ambition by 2035, Reliance Industries should set regularly spaced intermediate targets at five-year intervals and align its targets with its 1.5°C pathway.
Reliance Industries’ locked-in scope 3 emissions from its upstream activities are expected to exceed its 1.5°C carbon budget by 92% between 2019 and 2050. Reliance Industries may reduce scope 3 emissions if it continues to transition its refining business towards petrochemicals. However, it still needs to plan a managed decline in its oil and gas production. In contrast, the company is continuing exploration for new reserves and has entered joint ventures in US shale plays.
When Reliance Industries first announced its goal to become net zero by 2035, it included limited details on how it planned to achieve this. It referenced carbon capture and storage (CCS), hydrogen production, renewable power, solar cells and batteries.
In the company’s 2021 annual general meeting, it announced plans to invest USD 10.1 billion in driving its transition plan. The company plans to build four ‘gigafactories’ at its Jamnagar refinery to produce photovoltaic modules, batteries, fuel cells and electrolysers for green hydrogen. It aims to manufacture enough solar panels to generate 100 gigawatts (GW) of energy in nine years. The company also announced that it plans to transition its refining activities into an oil-to-chemicals business. If Reliance Industries successfully deploys these plans, it should begin to align with the low-carbon economy.
Reliance Industries receives a trend score of =. If the company were reassessed in the near future, its score would likely stay the same. The company has no intermediate targets to drive its aim of net-zero emissions by 2035 and reverse its predicted increasing intensity trend between 2019 and 2024. The company does not disclose the emission scopes covered by its net-zero goal and whether it includes scope 3 emissions. However, the company’s recent announcement to invest in low-carbon activities and manufacture enough solar panels to generate 100 GW of energy by 2030 may trigger a change of direction towards better alignment with its low-carbon transition.
Reliance Industries has no scope 1, 2 or 3 emissions reduction targets. Although it has pledged to become net zero by 2035, the company does not provide details on whether it applies to the whole company or the emission scopes it covers.
At the time of the benchmark assessment, Reliance provided limited detail on its transition plan beyond mentioning development of low-carbon activities, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), and hydrogen and renewable energy production. The company has since announced plans to transition away from refining oil for combustion fuels to focus on petrochemicals. It also plans to manufacture enough solar panels to generate 100 GW of energy by 2030.
At present, Reliance industries is focused on improving energy efficiency within its operations, as well as undertaking research and development in bio-crude oil. Since the benchmark assessment, the company has announced plans to invest USD 10.1 billion to transition over three years.
Reliance Industries’ scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions intensity has undergone a marginal increase between 2014 and 2019, as the share of refined oil has grown in its sold product mix. Furthermore, in 2018 the company withdrew from the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative’s (OGCI’s) USD 1bn+ climate investment fund.
Reliance Industries’ ambition to become net zero by 2035 is not supported by intermediate targets. Moreover, despite intending to rapidly increase investment in low-carbon activities and focus more on its chemicals business, it still aims to continue oil and gas production, having entered two joint ventures in US shale plays in 2019.