Blik op de toekomst: Shell scenario’s 2013

Recently, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of Shell’s scenario planning practice. As we reflect on these decades of scenario work and remember the many talented individuals who have been involved over the years, we’re struck by the way the scenarios influence such a remarkable range of issues, debates, and business decisions.
Looking back, we see many similarities between the business environment of the early 1970s and now – for example, volatility in the global economy and certain political systems. Other features are new in that they highlight complex challenges across whole resource systems that will strain the creative sinews of organisations like ours as we move forward.

In 2011 for example, I asked our strategy team to start looking at the nexus of water, energy, and food – what we call the Stress Nexus. I believe that success for Shell – and for society more widely – lies in working better, together. As businesses we are accustomed to serving people by building effective commercial collaboration, which drives innovation and business efficiency and positively impacts profits. But what we need to do better – and fast – is improve our collaboration with other companies, with whole sectors of the economy, and with government and civil society in different geographies across the globe.

Only then will we be able to take better advantage of the efficiencies that can be achieved by collaborating at a system level.
As these New Lens Scenarios note, by 2030 we expect demand for critical resources like water, energy, and food to have risen by 40%-50%. To meet those needs without significant environmental detriment, business as usual will not be an option – we require business unusual. Soon we will begin sharing more of our plans to strengthen partnerships and continue our active role in transforming the energy system.

These new scenarios explore complexity and ask searching questions about how we create a more reflective, responsive, and resilient business.

Sharing them and driving a debate around the issues they consider are an important part of that process. I trust the supplements we will publish periodically over the next couple of years will also take this forward.
I hope you find this content thought-provoking, and I take this opportunity to encourage you to continue being part of the scenario discussion as so many have over the past 40 years.

Scenarios, click on:

CEO, Royal Dutch Shell plc,
March 2013