Shell Lubricants’ Journey to Sustainability Continues

Nov. 1, 2021

New internal and packaging changes continue to push Shell Lubricants towards their mission of becoming a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner, in step with society.  

With climate, technology, and countless outside forces ever-changing, the journey of sustainability is never over. Shell Lubricants continues to take on the challenge of sustainability along with their mission to become a net-zero emissions energy business, in step with society, by implementing both internal and external initiatives.

NOLN sat down with Jessica Bell, Marketing Manager Sustainability at Shell Lubricants Americas, to discuss what changes Shell Lubricants has made in the last few months, and why quick lube owners should know about them. 

Why is sustainability important to you, and why is it important for it to be a pillar at the place where you work?

Most importantly, we all know what's happening with our climate, as well as current social issues. We know that there are regulations that are coming down the pike. But to me, it's more than just the regulations—it's the right thing to do. I have children, and I'd like to think that the things that I do today will make a better way for them going forward. I want the next generation to really benefit from the world. 

Since NOLN’s last article about the sustainability efforts of Shell Lubricants, a lot of movement has been made. Could you explain what advancements Shell has made in their path toward sustainability?

Shell aims to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, or sooner, to be in line with society and our customers. Within our own operations, we’ve installed energy monitoring systems and LED lighting which has allowed us to improve the energy efficiency of our operations.  In fact, in the manufacturing and transportation of our products we have reduced our carbon intensity in our operations by over 35 percent since 2016.    

We have also taken a huge step forward with our packaging. Our newest innovation is the recent change with the Shell EcoBox. We’ve been increasing the amount of post-consumer resin in our bottles and are aiming to be at 40 percent, which is above industry regulation. We have increased the amount of post-consumer resin in our totes, as well. Shell is also lightweighting our bottles when possible.  Additionally, Pennzoil joined the National Lubricant Container Recycling Coalition (NLCRC) in March along with a group of other leading lubricant and plastic packaging manufacturers (BP Lubricants, Valvoline, Graham Packaging & Plastipak). The goal of this industry-led technical coalition is to establish a market-sustaining program in the United States focused on establishing solutions for post-consumer recovery and recycling of plastic lubricant containers.

These significant changes all add up. Everything from the sourcing of the material to how we logistically ship it out of the door impacts our mission. And what's equally as important is that we are creating more circular economy thinking, which is at the heart of our business. We are constantly looking to reuse and repurpose our raw material.

Although these packaging changes are huge in the sense of sustainability, most quick lube operators and employees won’t notice the difference itself, especially in quality—why should this be of importance to them?

These changes are important to our customers because many shop operators and owners are looking for solutions and ways for them to decarbonize as well. We know consumers are becoming more sustainably conscious, and this presents an opportunity for them to know that the company behind their lubricants is continually looking to decarbonize and to reduce the CO2 intensity of their packaging. 

Do you encourage quick lube owners to advertise the sustainability efforts of the products they are using to their customers?

I would absolutely encourage owners and operators to talk to their customers about the things they are doing to reduce their CO2 footprint. We encourage our customers to buy our carbon neutral products, and in turn want them to pass that message on to their customers. I also think it’s important that we continue to talk about the things that we're doing to avoid, reduce, and position ourselves for a more sustainable future.  

What other sustainability efforts are on the horizon for Shell Lubricants that quick lube owners can look forward to?

They should absolutely stay tuned. This is a very new space, and there is no single solution when it comes to sustainability. There are constantly things from an end-to-end perspective that we are trialing and testing. With this new packaging we’re really trying to embed this circular economy thinking, where we are looking for opportunities to make the products that we sell more recyclable. 

Where should our readers go to learn more about the sustainability efforts of Shell Lubricants?

They can visit to learn more about our packaging changes and other sustainability efforts.