Shell Foundation partners with Nuveen to catalyse private equity investments into climate solutions

Nuveen, a leading global investment manager with over $1.3 trillion of assets under management, announced a partnership today with Shell Foundation, the UK-registered charity, to drive more capital to emerging market climate solutions.

Nuveen’s Global Impact team, the firm’s dedicated private equity impact strategy, expects to invest at least $100m over the next five years into transformative companies serving climate-vulnerable communities in Africa and Asia, with the goal of increasing energy access, mitigating climate change and building climate resilience.

Shell Foundation supports entrepreneurs providing energy access and sustainable transport solutions for under-served communities in emerging and frontier markets. It has built a portfolio of innovative businesses with potential to scale and impact the lives of millions, as well as an ecosystem of financial vehicles and industry platforms to support the energy transition. In 2021, the foundation published research that identified the $200bn investment opportunity in providing off-grid energy solutions in sub-Saharan Africa, which will avoid 626m tonnes of CO2e by 2030.

“We have admired the Shell Foundation’s efforts to bring commercial scale to climate solutions in emerging markets for a number of years, and have previously evaluated, invested, and worked directly with a number of Shell Foundation’s portfolio companies,” said Rekha Unnithan, Co-Head of Private Impact Investing at Nuveen. “This partnership will provide a platform for us to leverage more holistically – to work more thoughtfully and efficiently to deploy capital into leading companies that are disrupting traditional value chains and providing valuable products and services to emerging markets consumers.”

The partnership will formalize the relationship between Nuveen’s Global Impact team and the Shell Foundation, providing a source of institutional capital for suitable companies creating access to renewable energy and transport; and access to market experts, insights and leading emerging market climate solutions companies for Nuveen’s Global Impact team.

“Delivering an inclusive energy transition requires understanding the needs of entrepreneurs who will drive the transition and delivering finance solutions that are tailored to their markets and stage of growth,” said Jonathan Berman, CEO of Shell Foundation. “Nuveen has a track record of investment in inclusive, sustainable growth worldwide.  We are excited to share insights and opportunities with Nuveen’s Global Impact team to bring smart growth capital to the sectors in which we work.”

Shell Foundation has provided catalytic funding and business support to innovative companies for more than 20 years, improving the livelihoods of more than 229m people. Many of the foundation’s portfolio operate in target sectors for Nuveen’s Global Impact strategy, including agri-renewables, agri-finance, energy for business, mini-grid renewables, mobility and off-grid utilities.

“We recognize that the only way to achieve the targets set out in the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to work collaboratively.  Shell Foundation’s expertise and flexible capital is an excellent fit for Nuveen’s private equity growth capital and broader institutional mindset,” said Pete Murphy, Head of ESG and Impact for Nuveen Global Impact. “We hope that our partnership will help to accelerate the identification, funding, and growth of leading businesses in emerging markets that possess compelling solutions to mitigate climate change and build resilience for low-income consumers.”

“To reach under-served consumers in a way that is affordable, commercially sustainable and scalable, game-changing social enterprises require an appropriate continuum of capital,” said Ashish Kumar, Climate and Innovation lead at Shell Foundation.  “This partnership between Shell Foundation and Nuveen will catalyze entire markets into addressing the Sustainable Development Goals and delivering positive impact to millions of lives.”

The partnership was initiated with support from Consilium Capital, a corporate finance firm dedicated to sustainable impact.

About Nuveen

Nuveen is a pioneer in impact investing, with a track record of driving strong financial results and direct, measurable outcomes to address some of society’s most pressing problems. The firm made its first impact investment in the 1980s and has since invested approximately $600 million in direct and indirect private equity capital across over 200 portfolio companies in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Nuveen closed its flagship 3rd party fund in December 2021, and has already announced three transactions – Advanced Battery Concepts, America’s Thrift Stores, and Annapurna Finance.

About Shell Foundation

Shell Foundation (SF) is a UK-registered charity established in 2000 that creates and scales business solutions to accelerate access to affordable, renewable energy and transport solutions across Africa and Asia, in support of an inclusive energy transition.  To date the foundation’s work has improved the livelihoods of more than 229m people.