The Shell Foundation will, in its principal programme, contribute funds and expertise to projects that particularly tackle social and environmental challenges related to energy access and use. Its work will complement the local social investments of Shell companies around the world. This initiative is a further step in Shell’s work to integrate sustainable development in all its activities.

The Shell Foundation’s Sustainable Energy Programme will support projects that either encourage environmentally cleaner energy use or help tackle poverty by providing sustainable energy to poor communities in developing countries. The Foundation will devote $20m to a range of such projects over the first three years.

Twenty projects, representing an initial commitment of over $7 million, have already been selected for the launch portfolio of the Sustainable Energy Programme. These include a project to help farmers in a nature reserve in one of the poorest provinces of China to reduce their use of firewood, increase their income and grow cash crops in greenhouses by converting animal waste to heat; an initiative to tackle the problem of poor air quality in the mega-cities of Latin America; and a UK project to educate primary school children, governors, teachers and parents about the financial and environmental benefits of energy saving. The Shell Foundation will announce funding for further projects in due course.

The largest project to be supported by the Shell Foundation is the Biodiversity Assessment Programme of the Smithsonian Institution. It will receive $2.8m of funding for a five-year project to develop techniques for mapping and monitoring biodiversity, particularly in ecosystems that could be affected by exploration and development. The Smithsonian will also receive logistical support from Shell in countries hosting the projects. This project goes well beyond existing norms for biodiversity assessment and should create new understanding and new approaches.

Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman of the Committee of Managing Directors of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, said: -Shell companies worldwide have always aimed to be good citizens in their local communities, with social investments totalling some $93 million last year. Through the Shell Foundation we will now bring our resources and expertise as an international energy group to help address global issues where we have a particular role to play. This will enable us to support projects, not for commercial return, but to help find long term solutions to global problems about which society cares a great deal. The Shell Foundation will further strengthen our contribution and commitment to sustainable development.”

Commenting on the launch, Nelson Mandela, who has recently visited Shell’s social investment projects in South Africa and takes a close interest in rural poverty, including the role of energy, said: -One of the major issues in South Africa and the developing world generally is access to energy and, in particular, clean, affordable sources of power. I am delighted to see that Shell is setting an example by launching a charity to fund projects which will encourage the use of sustainable energy sources in South Africa and worldwide. I look forward to seeing the results.”

Dr Francisco Dallmeier, Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Monitoring and Assessment of Biodiversity Programme, said: -The Shell Foundation is an innovative development for a global energy business. The funding we are receiving will enable us to increase biodiversity knowledge, build local capacity in biological assessments and monitoring programmes, and provide scientific information for decision-making on conservation and sustainable development issues. The Smithsonian will also forge strategic partnerships with local scientists, communities and institutions to achieve these goals.”

The Shell Foundation will have two other global programmes. The Sustainable Communities programme will focus on initiatives that build the social and economic capacity of marginalised communities around the world. The third programme will look at the importance of youth enterprise to economic development and will build on Shell’s existing LiveWIRE programme to advise young people setting up in business.

The Foundation has a Board of Trustees that includes Sir John Houghton, who co-chairs the UN intergovernmental group looking at the science of climate change, and Professor José Goldemberg, a former environment minister of Brazil and an expert on energy, the environment and development.

Further information on the Shell Foundation, including projects that are being supported, is available on


The Shell Foundation is a charity registered in the UK and operating under UK charity law, with an international focus, such that most of its work will be outside the UK. The trustees are:

Professor José Goldemberg, Instituto de Eletrotecnica e Energia, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; former Secretary of State for Environment and Secretary of State for Science and Technology, Brazil

Sir John Houghton, co-Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Former Chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution

Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman of the Committee of Managing Directors, Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies

Jyoti Munsiff, Secretary, The -Shell” Transport and Trading Company p.l.c.

Harry Roels, Group Managing Director, Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies