Shell Foundation

Shell Foundation (SF) is an independent charity that applies a business approach to global development challenges that constrain job creation, access to energy and urban mobility.

Since 2000, SF has worked with social enterprise partners to create new business solutions to deliver social and environmental improvement internationally. SF provides a mix of business support, grant funding and market links to help entrepreneurs prove their business models, achieve financial independence and expand into new markets.

Once a social enterprise partner is able to serve low-income consumers on a commercial scale, SF creates intermediary businesses and industry associations. These support the growth of new markets around the partner. For example, helping to create the model for the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association – an industry association that is building market infrastructure for off-grid lighting to reach low-income consumers.

To date, SF has deployed $207 million of grant funding into social enterprises and new market builders operating in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

In 2015, SF published an analysis of the successes and failures of its work over the past 15 years in a report entitled “Enterprise Solutions to 2030”. The report collates the Foundation’s learnings from more than 200 partnerships with public and private social investors. It outlines a road map for co-ordinated action to accelerate progress towards sustainable development in emerging markets.

2015 social enterprise partner highlights

  • d.light: a leading provider of low-cost, high-quality solar energy products. Its expanded product range includes the world’s most affordable and reliable solar-powered lantern that is sold for just $5;
  • Envirofit: pioneer of high-quality, efficient and affordable clean-cooking solutions. More than 1 million clean cookstoves have been sold so far, improving the lives of 5 million people in 45 countries;
  • Husk Power Systems (HPS): a rural utility that generates low-cost electricity from waste and solar power. In 2015, HPS launched the world’s first combined solar and biomass hybrid power plant to bring continuous electricity to communities in rural India; and
  • GroFin: provider of finance and business support to small- and medium-sized enterprises to spur job creation in emerging markets. Last year, the company launched a $100 million fund backed by individual and business investors to generate 47,000 jobs in Africa by 2025.

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Shell Foundation’s six-step theory of change

Shell Foundation's six-step theory of change (graph)Shell Foundation's six-step theory of change (graph)

Shell Foundation’s impact to date

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jobs created

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10.3 million

tonnes of carbon reduction

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$5.3 billion

funding leveraged

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47.8 million

livelihoods improved

Source: Shell Foundation.