Entrepreneurs asked van Beurden for his thoughts on solar energy, Shell’s investments, and Shell’s activity in Brazil. 2018 Top Ten Innovators awardee Bernardo Luís do Amaral e Silva also asked van Beurden for his thoughts on the future of plastics and waste. Silva is the cofounder of Terravixta’s Plástico Precioso, an initiative that collects and distributes waste plastics to collectors and artisan cooperatives and was the 2018 runner up in the Retail Supply Chain category. Van Beurden noted that plastics continue to play a significant role in minimising food waste.
“In the developed world, the percentage of food that makes it from the field to the kitchen table is about 90 percent and that’s because of two key reasons – refrigeration and packaging,” he said. “In less developed parts of the world, it’s less than 50 percent. So, there is a space for packaging but we have to figure out how to encourage recycling.”
Van Beurden closed the session with some advice for the young entrepreneurs, highlighting two lessons he’s learned over the years.
“The clearer you are about what it is you want to achieve – whether in your job or in running a business – the higher the likelihood you will achieve it,” he said. “It sounds silly but the moment you have strategic clarity, you can go into troubleshooting mode and try to achieve that goal.”
He added, “I’ve also come to realise how important it is to have the ability to persevere. You will fail, you will have setbacks, you will have to try again, that’s part of life...but it’s okay, [when you persevere] you will get there.”
Leise Duarte, social performance advisor for Shell Brazil, said the Iniciativa Jovem entrepreneurs clearly enjoyed the opportunity to meet with Shell’s CEO and learn more about Shell’s commitment to sustainability.
“Ben was able to reinforce that Shell believes that we all responsible for building a better future by being responsible, transparent and sustainable,” she said. “It was an inspiring moment to all of us.”
To learn more, see the event recording on YouTube.