Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great honour for me to speak to such an influential group of digital leaders. My name is Carlos Maurer. I lead Global Commercial – Shell’s business-to-business marketing organisation of 8,000 people. We serve more than 1 million business customers in 150 markets around the world.

We develop and sell lubricants and greases that help our customers’ engines and machinery work as efficiently as possible.

In one year, we supply enough bitumen to go around the world four and a half times. And in China we have worked on many iconic engineering projects including the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau bridge as well as the Nansha Bridge in Guangdong province.

And our aviation business fuels airlines out of airports located in 60 markets around the world.

But it is not just about products that make our customers equipment perform better.

We also offer digital solutions to help our business customers adapt to the fast rate of change within their industries.

Our digital and consultant solutions help customers maximise their operational output and minimise their environmental impact. We help our customers make sustainable decisions that contribute to their profit margins.

Uncertainties ahead

Before we begin, a word from our legal team. Today I am going to gaze into my crystal ball and talk about the future. With that comes a lot of uncertainties. And I am obliged to share the following disclaimer notes with you. Please visit shell.com for more information.

Shell is committed to help China achieve its sustainability goals

So why is someone from an energy company keen to speak to you today about digitalisation?

It comes down to Shell’s ambition to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner.

An ambition that we will achieve by working in step with society and our customers.

We cannot do it alone. We will partner with businesses, sectors and countries to help them find their own paths to net-zero emissions.

Like you, we in Shell were pleased when China announced its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. One of the most impressive things about China is your commitment to results by developing tangible plans and putting resources behind them. When you decide on a course of action, you deliver. You keep your word. You do what you say you will do.

And because we have a common commitment, we want to work together with China to make your ambition a reality.

No single company can develop all the solutions and technologies that are needed. We have to collaborate. Genuine collaboration from start to finish. And given the complexity of the energy challenge we face, multi-party collaboration will also be necessary. Multi-party collaboration involves different players from within a sector coming together.

For example, Shell Aviation is working with World Energy to supply Amazon Air with blended sustainable aviation fuel. This blended fuel has the power to reduce carbon emissions by up to 20 percent. It is a great example of collaboration across the value chain – a fuel producer, a fuel supplier and a cargo airline.

Another example of cross sector collaboration comes from California.

The road that connects the large port of Los Angeles with a major warehouse complex is heavily polluted. Shell is working in a hydrogen truck consortium with Toyota and Kenworth Truck Company to reduce emissions along this busy road.

So we are building large-capacity refuelling stations for these hydrogen trucks. This pilot project is a great way to learn lessons on how to deliver larger scale hydrogen infrastructure for heavy duty trucks.

But it is not just collaboration that is vital to build a lower carbon future.

Digitalisation and technology are also key. They will accelerate the energy transformation we need.

Today I will share my views on how Shell can work with you – the people who are leading China’s digital transformation – to help deliver this energy transition.

And to do it in a way that delivers value to our respective businesses.

China’s digital transformation

China’s digital transformation and leadership position are exceptional. And I would like to share my observations of what I see as the four factors that stand out – Innovation, scale, speed and commitment.

  1. Innovation. Chinese companies openly embrace the spirit of innovation. And in turn, Chinese customers – both consumers and businesses – are open to new ways of doing things, new ideas and just as importantly new business models.
  2. The scale of the Chinese digital market is remarkable. That scale ensures real business impact and success, not just in China but globally.
  3. The speed of delivery – critical for customer satisfaction and business prosperity
  4. The unwavering commitment to deliver. You see this commitment in China’s adoption of digital platforms. But you also see it in other vital transformations - like the successful adoption of electric vehicles. And these produce tangible, win-win results.

Digitalisation can help deliver the energy transition

For decades Shell has transformed the energy industry with digitalisation.

For example, as far back as the 1970s we developed new seismic software to help improve our exploration business.

Our digital transformation is firmly under way.

Within our businesses we use digital solutions and data analysis to add real value for us and our customers. We also create new digital products and services that give our customers great energy efficiency and convenience. And, finally, we are creating new business models. Investing in a pipeline of digital ventures - managed as stand-alone businesses.

So they have all the benefits of a start-up culture but the support of a successful corporate “parent”.

Why Chinese companies should work with Shell

So why do we think that Shell can be a strong digital partner for Chinese companies?

Let me give you three reasons:

  • First, we are focused on action and speed.

We have a track record of digital delivery in China and elsewhere. Sometimes developed by Shell. Sometimes developed by other partners.

First let me give you a home-grown example. MachineMax.

The idea for MachineMax was born in Shell. MachineMax uses smart sensors and real-time analytics to help construction and mining companies maximise the efficiency of their machinery. During the incubation period we validated MachineMax’s business proposition. Then we spun the company out so it was independent. This allowed it to successfully attract further venture funding, including from BCG Ventures.

And then we worked together with MachineMax to launch globally and accelerate the growth of its customer base by introducing it to Shell’s long established customers around the world.

Turning next to an example of our partnership approach.

We have worked with Tencent here in China to build Smart Garage, a digital platform that connects motorists with different maintenance needs with a network of 3,000 garages. Convenience for the motorists. New revenue streams for the garages.

And we deliver with the same passion for speed, built on a culture of agility.

I am proud of how our Chinese Lubricants team reacted when confronted with the challenges of Covid-19. Prior to the onset of Covid-19, we had established agile teams to solve customer problems and respond to market trends.

This allowed us to respond quickly to the two major shifts in customer behaviour we saw as a result of the virus – the demand for premium products and the growing reliance on digital channels.

We quickly converted a meeting room to a video live-streaming centre with professional broadcast equipment.

We chose the right people from our team to be our subject matter experts on a range of business topics.

In fact, within weeks, some of our staff experts became livestreaming stars! Their webinars connected with more than 150 thousand distributors and independent workshop owners. But the viewership also delivered sales even within the first half hour of streaming.

  • Second, we have valuable customer insights.

Insights that come from the analysis of our extensive data from thousands of customers, as well as our frequent customer interactions.

This access to Big Data has benefited us enormously on our digitalisation journey. We can identify change more rapidly. And then adapt to meet the changing needs of customers and markets.

For example, the Marketing Intelligence Tool we have developed allows us to analyse the data from our various marketing campaigns and improve their efficiency so we are serving the right advertisement to the right person at the right time.

We have improved the impact of the media we select by between 20 to 35 percent because of these insights. And even during a year impacted by Covid-19, we have been able to use this tool to refine our promotional activities to improve sales in our key portfolio segments.

  • And finally, we bring our global scale and strong brand

150 markets. 1 million business customers. Expertise across multiple sectors – from transport and construction to power and manufacturing. And 30 million customers a day in retail stations around the world - that’s more daily customers than McDonald’s and Starbucks combined.

Shell has been around for more than 100 years and is now one of the world’s most recognised brands.

And we have just recently retained our impressive leadership position as the number 1 global supplier for lubricants. We have held this number 1 position for 14 consecutive years, all the way back to 2005.

And we provide lubricants to 7 of the world’s 10 largest car manufacturers as well as major Chinese brands like Geely and FAW.

Our brand has also helped us build our strong presence in China’s lucrative automotive aftermarket. A market which has been valued at 1.6 trillion RMB. Our network of 200 thousand independent maintenance workshops accounts for nearly 50% of the small business market.

What is Shell looking for in a digital partner?

I think it also helps to know what we are looking for in a digital partner.

We are looking for partners with new technologies and new business models. Businesses that will help us deliver innovations that thrill our customers.

We want to work with companies that embrace disruption. We know that we cannot rely on disruptive ideas to come only from within our business. Shell might be more than 100 years old but we have the disruptive spirit of an entrepreneur.

We want to work with the collaborators because we know working together leads to success together.

And finally, we want to work with more start-ups.

Shell brings great complementary skills to start-ups that together help scale up and deliver a cutting-edge innovation.

I want to give you an example from the world of shipping. It may surprise you but Shell manages a global shipping fleet. And as a fleet operator we are absolutely committed to crew welfare and safety.

Covid19 has really impacted crews around the world.

So we are always looking out for start-ups that can improve the crew welfare experience.

During a start-up pitch workshop, we came across one such start-up.

We tested the start-up’s technology on six of our ships and could immediately see how the tool helped us gauge crew sentiment in real time and understand how we could intervene to better support them.

Now we are working with this start-up to roll out this innovation across our whole fleet as well as build out a route to market to ship operators around the world.

And here in China we have invested in industrial e-commerce site Zhenkunhang to explore a platform for an aftermarket for industrial equipment maintenance, repair and operations.

And we see a lot of opportunities with start-ups in the world of autonomous driving and Electric vehicle charging solutions.


I hope that what I have shared today inspires some of you to reach out to Shell to start an exploratory discussion.

The challenge of the energy transition remains a top priority for Shell just as it is for China.

We believe Shell can be an important part of the solution. And we believe that digital solutions will help accelerate its progress.

We cannot do it alone. Collaboration is critical.

I am inspired by the Chinese proverb : “A strong fire only builds when everyone gathers firewood together”.

I am convinced that together we can build a lower carbon future.

Thank you.


This presentation contains data and analysis from Shell’s Sky scenario. Unlike Shell’s previously published Mountains and Oceans exploratory scenarios, the Sky scenario is based on the assumption that society reaches the Paris Agreement’s goal of holding the rise in global average temperatures this century to well below two degrees Celsius (2°C) above pre-industrial levels. Unlike Shell’s Mountains and Oceans scenarios, which unfolded in an open-ended way based upon plausible assumptions and quantifications, the Sky scenario was specifically designed to reach the Paris Agreement’s goal in a technically possible manner. These scenarios are a part of an ongoing process used in Shell for over 40 years to challenge executives’ perspectives on the future business environment. They are designed to stretch management to consider even events that may only be remotely possible. Scenarios, therefore, are not intended to be predictions of likely future events or outcomes.

Additionally, it is important to note that as of 6 November 2020, Shell’s operating plans and budgets do not reflect Shell’s net-zero emissions ambition. Shell’s aim is that, in the future, its operating plans and budgets will change to reflect this movement towards its new net-zero emissions ambition. However, these plans and budgets need to be in step with the movement towards a net-zero emissions economy within society and among Shell’s customers.

Also, in this presentation we may refer to “Shell’s Net Carbon Footprint”, which includes Shell’s carbon emissions from the production of our energy products, our suppliers’ carbon emissions in supplying energy for that production and our customers’ carbon emissions associated with their use of the energy products we sell. Shell only controls its own emissions but, to support society in achieving the Paris Agreement goals, we aim to help and influence such suppliers and consumers to likewise lower their emissions. The use of the terminology “Shell’s Net Carbon Footprint” is for convenience only and not intended to suggest these emissions are those of Shell or its subsidiaries.

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