THE HAGUE, The Netherlands
November 19, 2012
Scenario planning helps Shell make critical business decisions
Forty years ago, in 1972, work began on what many people regard as the first Shell Scenarios document, published the following year, though the roots of this work lie even further in the past. Since then, scenario planning has been at the heart of Shell's business, developing senior leadership understanding of critical factors in the business environment and the possible directions which economic, geopolitical and social systems could take, decades into the future.
In the last four decades, Shell Scenario planners have highlighted many key world trends and discontinuities, ensuring that Shell as a business has been able to plan for several eventualities and maintain business continuity through even the most turbulent times. For example, the original Scenarios helped Shell's leaders to prepare for the possibility of an oil price shock - a prescient move given the
war, which broke out in
, Shell's Vice President, Global Business Environment, said: "Ever since our Scenarios programme began forty years ago, we have been creating and applying many different scenarios to anticipate global and local economic, social and political changes and how they could affect our business.
"Looking to the future, our scenario planners are now developing a new angle to their work, which recognises the even more complex nature of the modern world. It will provide clarity and insights by zooming in on specific details, then zooming out to give a broader perspective."
The next iteration of the Shell Scenarios, to be published in early 2013, will focus on areas that are fundamental to the development of energy and environmental systems in the 21
century. These include the connection between energy, water and food systems and the impact of growing global urbanisation.
To mark this major anniversary, we are publishing '40 Years of Shell Scenarios', a reminder of our Scenarios work over many years with illustrations of how scenario planning has had a positive impact on the world in a variety of areas.