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Investing in communities

Young football players in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (photo)
Energy generated by the football players’
movement is used to power the lights in
this soccer pitch, supported by Shell
LiveWIRE.  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Social investment is an important part of being a good neighbour in the countries where we operate. Each country develops its own social investment strategy, working within a common global framework and direction.

Our approach to social investment is to understand the local context and then invest in areas that complement Shell’s business and the needs of that community. In some cases, we also contribute to communities through philanthropy. In 2014, we spent around $160 million on voluntary social investment projects around the world. In addition, more than $100 million was spent on social investment in line with contractual requirements in some projects.

We have updated our global social investment strategy with a view to achieving more impact. Shell’s three core themes of social investment are in areas that are relevant to our business and where we can offer business expertise: access to energy as an enabler to social development; improving road safety; and supporting local enterprise and sustainable employment within communities. Shell teams in different countries work in consultation with communities to choose the most relevant themes in which to invest.

The teams may also implement locally tailored programmes on community development, education, biodiversity and conservation. (See “Local procurement”). We often form partnerships with other parties in countries to implement our programmes, including development agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). (See “Community partners”).

We are currently implementing a common global framework to measure the impact of our investments. The measurement of each programme will be based on assessing our contribution to society while meeting our business goals. The results help us to understand the effectiveness of our social investment over the long term.

Access to energy

The World Bank states that globally nearly 1.2 billion people live without access to electricity and around 2.7 billion people rely on wood or other types of biomass to cook and heat their homes. Shell is the largest private-sector supporter of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, which encourages the use of clean stoves in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We have pledged $12 million since 2010 to this partnership and provide additional in-kind support with business skills and expertise, advising on carbon financing and impact investing. Our countries of focus are China and Nigeria.

We are also supporters of United Nations Sustainable Energy for All (SEFA) that promotes energy as a means to help countries develop. SEFA’s goals include universal energy access, improving energy efficiency and doubling the proportion of renewable energy use. In 2014, we tested a new toolkit to understand the local energy needs of particular communities, such as fishermen or indigenous peoples. This will help us design ways to address the energy poverty challenges faced by local communities.

Improving road safety

Road traffic is a major cause of casualties in countries where we operate. We have been running road safety programmes to help reduce the number of road deaths, including promoting safety awareness in communities. (See “Road safety”). We are a lead partner in the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), a global alliance that creates road partnerships across sectors and brings together government, civil society and businesses to improve road safety. We also have a technical partnership with GRSP where they help us to improve our own road safety community programmes.

Shell chairs the Global Road Safety Initiative, a private sector collaboration with GRSP that works to improve road safety in cities and communities. It works across eight countries, involving local organisations to implement programmes. Its “Safe to School – Safe to Home” projects focus on making sure that children travel or walk safely to and from school. We have replicated this programme close to our operations in Nigeria and Vietnam.

Encouraging local enterprise

Our LiveWIRE programme helps entrepreneurs start their own businesses, build skills and turn their ideas into long-term sources of income. The programme is active in 15 countries where we operate. Each country develops its own programme, working with local businesses, non-profit organisations and chambers of commerce. Programmes include an online advisory service, mentoring from Shell employees, grants, access to finance and workshops to help people develop their business plans.

For example, our LiveWIRE programme in Pakistan works with CARE International to support women from rural areas to set up businesses. In 2014, we trained around 950 participants in Pakistan leading to 35 business start-ups. In 2014, 450 persons were trained in the Niger Delta, including 180 people living with disabilities. In Saudi Arabia, around 1,380 people took part in business training which led to 184 female-owned businesses being created.