Portfolio Learning

The case for impact investment in Sustainable Mobility

A new impact report, commissioned by Shell Foundation and authored by ENEA Consulting, positions Sustainable Mobility as a unique and budding sector for which solutions are critical given projected demographic growth in developing countries.

The report looks at entrepreneur-led B2C Sustainable Mobility solutions in rural and urban settings targeting low-income populations to alleviate multiple mobility challenges in emerging markets, including:

  • Accessibility, through improving geographical access, inclusion of low-income populations through affordable mobility, and gender inclusion
  • Health and safety, through reducing accidents and improving security for passengers
  • Efficiency, through reducing time in transit and traffic congestion and improving the reliability of mobility solutions
  • Climate change and the environment, through reducing GHG emissions and pollution.

Developing countries, and particularly sub-Saharan Africa, host 98% of the one billion people in the world without access to transport (other than walking). 2.4 billion more people are expected to live in cities in non-OECD countries by 2050, indicating the urban population will likely increase by 6.75 million every month. There is a compelling need and opportunity for investment in creative Sustainable Mobility solutions that have potential for significant impact, particularly in achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).



Report Methodology

The report combines the results of an investor survey with an impact materiality analysis of the whole sector and several case studies to present the case for impact investment in Sustainable Mobility. It is divided into three parts:

  • How Sustainable Mobility presents a significant investment opportunity with a proven funding gap
  • The different impact types the sector presents, with a focus on the UN SDGs
  • How to seize the investment opportunities presented and how the range of solutions and potential impacts make for a compelling opportunity for a range of investor types.

Key findings

Sustainable Mobility entrepreneurs require significant seed and growth capital, yet the sector retains strong potential to generate social impact in a number of areas:

  • Improving health and safety
  • Enhancing socio-economic development and inclusion
  • Reducing the carbon footprint from transportation
  • Gender inclusion

Recommended Investor Actions

Sustainable Mobility provides investors an opportunity to overcome investment barriers and support an emergent and impactful sector. The sector requires continued and increased investment from the full spectrum of investor classes if enterprise solutions are to be seeded and scaled effectively in developing countries.

This requires a concerted effort by investors to tackle current hurdles to funding, by:

  • Raising awareness within the investor community
  • Better identifying and strengthening the investment pipeline of enterprises fitting investment criteria
  • Refining business models and strengthening financial attractiveness
  • Building a healthy funding ecosystem