BP imagines a cleaner future but can dream bigger still

Annual low carbon investment will be fired up to around $5bn a year, a 10-fold jump on current levels. That means BP’s global renewable power generation will have gone from 2.5GW in 2019 to 50GW by the end of the decade, more than the whole of the UK currently has at its disposal. At the same time, its oil and gas production will shrink 40pc.

Even the company’s biggest critics had to acknowledge it is a bold step. Greenpeace UK’s chief scientist Doug Parr described it as “a pretty big change from BP”, while the green shareholder activist group Follow This said BP was “the first to walk the walk”.

And yet, it is still too soon for champagne corks. Five billion dollars is undoubtedly a big jump from the paltry $500m BP currently spends a year on green projects, but it is only one third of the $14bn to $16bn it will still be forking out on oil and gas drilling in 10 years’ time. And for that reason, there’s more reimagining needed.

Diageo’s lockdown hangover

Like all companies, this year has been one of “two halves” for drinks giant Diageo but its problem is that people haven’t been drinking enough halves, or shots, or cans, or any other measures.

There’s an assumption that while the human race has been holed up at home during lockdown, everyone has been getting sozzled in their pyjamas while watching Homes Under the Hammer or whatever the overseas equivalent is.

That may actually be true but the Guinness and Johnnie Walker whisky maker relies on pubs, clubs and restaurants for a big chunk of its trade, and with drinking venues closed from the end of March until July, profits have halved and the company has taken a £1.3bn hit on the value of various units.

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