Shell Foundation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Shell Foundation is an independent UK registered charity[1] established by the Shell Group in 2000[2] to create and scale new solutions to global development challenges that are sustainable and generate large-scale impact. The Shell Foundation applies business thinking to major social and environmental issues linked with the energy sector.

The Foundation works with a small number of entrepreneurial partners to identify the market failures that underpin many of the world's problems and co-create new social enterprises to solve them. The Foundation provides patient grant funding, extensive business support, and access to networks which helps pioneers validate new models, achieve financial independence and expand across geographies.

Shell Foundation is a venture philanthropy group, funding enterprise-based models as a cost effective way to support inclusive economic development.


Shell Foundation was established in 2000 with an endowment to cover annual operating expenditure and ensure long-term financial independence. The Shell Group has also made additional donations on an annual basis since inception. The Foundation has also received additional unrestricted and restricted donations from public and private partners to help them further their charitable objectives.


Shell Foundation is registered with the UK Charity Commission.[3] The governance structure includes a mixed Board of Trustees who oversees their work, including two senior leaders from the Shell Group and four leading figures from sectors related to international development.

The Foundation has its own set of Business Principles that encompasses their values, governs how they conduct their mission, and hold their staff and strategic partners accountable to it.

The Foundation maintains an independent yet linked relationship with their corporate founder which enables them to draw on specific technical and functional expertise, business tools and local networks where appropriate, in order to enhance their ability to achieve lasting public benefit at scale.


Shell Foundation’s activities focus on catalysing market-based solutions to tackle global development challenges in ways that can deliver global impact and can become financially independent.[4] This is done by firstly identifying the market failures that underpin major social and environmental problems and then co-creating new social enterprises and independent enablers to solve them. Shell Foundation also deploys a range of financial and non-financial support to demonstrate these models can work on a global scale and unlock private capital to fund growth and replication, and create enablers and the infrastructure needed to accelerate growth and replication.[5]

To date, Shell Foundation has been addressing job creation through supporting the small and medium enterprise sector, access to energy, urban mobility and supply chain sustainability – and have created several strategic partners that are now delivering large-scale impact in multiple countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.


Shell Foundation form long-term partnerships with a small number of entrepreneurial partners that they consider as potential game-changers and pioneers of new products and services that deliver social and environmental benefit to low-income consumers.

Partners are carefully selected to jointly create market-based solutions that can earn income, achieve financial independence and deliver significant impact on a global scale. To do this, Shell Foundation runs pilot programs to assess the viability of business models, demonstrate technology and look for evidence of market demand. Once The Foundation's criteria have been met they use grant funding to take early-stage risk in order to validate and develop the most promising solutions. Normally, these partnerships can last between 3 – 6 years, and throughout this period the Shell Foundation provides its partners with a blend of patient grant funding, extensive business skills and market links.

Shell Foundation social enterprise partners include:


Shell Foundation measures their performance on both their partners’ progress towards achieving sustainability and large-scale impact, as well as their cumulative impact. At the partner level, The Foundation tracks and monitors development outcomes such as low-income customers served, environmental benefit, economic benefit and social benefit – as well as financial sustainability.

Since 2010, Shell Foundation has used four metrics to measure their overall developmental impact: jobs created and sustained, livelihoods improved, carbon reduction and leveraged funding. They also share their annual impact figures.[19]


Shell Foundation has a mixed Board of Trustees which includes senior leaders from the Shell Group and leading figures from sectors relevant to international development.

  • Maxime Verhagen – Trustee since 2014. Appointed Acting Chairman in 2017
  • Margaret Blick Kigozi – Trustee since 2015
  • Malcolm Brinded - Trustee since 2009
  • Diana Fox Carney – Trustee since 2017
  • Andrew Brown – Trustee since 2015
  • Maarten Wetselaar – Trustee since 2016
  • Sinead Lynch – Trustees since 2017
  • Alice Chapple – Trustees since 2017

Media Coverage[edit]

On 28 September 2006, an article published in The Guardian newspaper alleged that "An attempt by Shell to portray itself as a model of corporate social responsibility was undermined last night after Whitehall documents showed its charitable arm discussing a key commercial project with a British government minister." The article entitled "Campaigners attack Shell’s charity arm over Sakhalin talks" related to The Shell Foundation. The Charity Commission subsequently conducted an inquiry and according to an article published in The Guardian on 17 October 2006, concluded that The Shell Foundation "has fallen short of the good governance and decision-making that we expect from large charities”. Since then, with guidance from the Charity Commission the Foundation's protocols and control framework on maintaining independence have been strengthened, which was shared in an article published in The Guardian on 25 March 2013.[20]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Shell Foundation Website:


  1. ^ The Guardian Shell Foundation: building megacities for the poor megacities-poor
  2. ^ European Venture Philanthropy Association
  3. ^ "UK Charity Commission". UK Government. Retrieved 20 June 2016. 
  4. ^ Business fights poverty. Shell Foundation: New Solutions to Global Development at Scale?
  5. ^ Global Giving Matters. The Shell Foundation -- Bringing more than money to the table
  6. ^ "Shell Foundation Partner Profiles Envirofit Summary". 
  7. ^ "Shell Foundation Partner Profiles D.Light Summary". 
  8. ^ "Shell Foundation Partner Profiles M-kopa Summary". 
  9. ^ "Shell Foundation Partner Profiles Dharma Life Summary". 
  10. ^ "Shell Foundation Partner Profiles Husk Power Systems Summary". 
  11. ^ "Shell Foundation Partner Profiles GACC Summary". 
  12. ^ "Shell Foundation Partner Profiles Intellegrow Summary". 
  13. ^ "Shell Foundation Partner Profiles FACTOR(E) Summary". 
  14. ^ "Shell Foundation Partner Profiles EMBARQ Summary". 
  15. ^ "Shell Foundation Partner Profiles Smart Freight Centre Summary". 
  16. ^ "Shell Foundation Partner Profiles GroFin Summary". 
  17. ^ "Shell Foundation Partner Profiles Cotton Connect Summary". 
  18. ^ "Shell Foundation Partner Profiles The Better Trading Company Summary". 
  19. ^ "Shell Foundation - Cumulative Impact". 
  20. ^ "Can a foundation owned by a company such as Shell be truly independent? In the 13 years since it was launched, the Shell Foundation has helped generate 21,400 jobs and save 3.4m tonnes of carbon". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 June 2016.