Reducing Carbon, One Tree at a Time

The oil and gas industry is continuously working on innovations and technology advancements to support a lower carbon economy. From carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) to renewable energy to biofuels, our member companies are investing billions each year to ensure a sustainable energy future that works for everyone.

The work WSPA member companies and others are doing in this space in high-tech laboratories and sophisticated refineries across the U.S. – and globe – is exciting, and is already making a huge impact. But many companies within our industry are also looking to mother nature – the world’s original innovator – to help bolster carbon reduction efforts even further, through utilizing the original carbon sequestration technology: trees.

Because trees use carbon dioxide to build their trunks, branches, leaves and roots, they are natural carbon absorbers, helping clean the air with every tree planted and grown. One mature tree can absorb up to 22 pounds of carbon dioxide per year or a half metric ton over their lifetime, according to the National Forest Foundation. And there’s no better time to celebrate the valuable role trees play for the environment than today as Arbor Day, celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

The power of trees is one of nature’s most valuable solutions, and our industry has taken note. In addition to our ongoing work to provide safe, reliable affordable energy to communities everywhere, as well as low carbon technologies that will shape the future, many WSPA member companies are investing heavily to plant millions of trees. A sampling of these efforts includes:

  • Chevron: Collaborating with organizations like One Tree Planted and Acorns to plant over 250,000 trees in California alone, with thousands more in Houston, Portland and other regions with operations and employees.
  • ExxonMobil: Planning massive tree planting efforts currently in the Permian Basin and funding coordinated tree planting efforts for thousands of employees and partners around the globe.
  • Shell: Investing up to $100 million annually in tree planting and other nature-based solutions with a goal of offsetting 120 million tons per year by 2030.

Additional WSPA member companies such as Aera, California Resources Corporation, Phillips 66 and Valero and more have all led employee volunteer programs for tree planting as well as contributed to local wildlife restoration projects – all contributing to the promise of cleaner air with each tree planted. While we are all excited about the fast pace of energy innovation, it’s also important to recognize that many efforts are contributing to a lower carbon future, some of them coming one seed at a time.

To learn more about the benefits of trees and how anyone can donate to tree planting in your area, please visit the Arbor Day Foundation.


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