Nick Allen

Vice President, Shell International

About Nick

Bio

Nick is the Vice President, Downstream CO2 in the Alternative Energies team. He is responsible for the overall strategic direction and co-ordination of all the Downstream Low CO2 work, and driving the development and delivery of product and services across Shell group that help customer use less energy, so they emit less CO2.
Nick joined the team from Retail, where he was the Global Head of Retail Fuels Marketing. In that role, he was responsible for the the marketing strategy and communications for Shell Retail Fuels globally, covering 50 countries around the world and more than 20 million customers each day. Based in London he led a team spread out across the world.
Nick started in Shell over 10 years ago, first in the Shell Centre working with Retail markets to develop their marketing of fuel products. After 14 months he relocated to Asia, first Bangkok then Singapore. In his time in the East he led Fuels Marketing across increasing geographies, and his final role was Head of Product Marketing in Retail in the East, covering Middle East and Australasia.
When the business went global he commenced his Global Fuels Marketing role from Singapore, but then realised the challenges of managing a global role from the East, and relocated to London after 9 months. Nick joined Shell from RHM where he had a number of marketing and new product development roles. Prior to that Nick worked in marketing at Procter & Gamble in their Health and Beauty business.
Nick holds a degree in Business Studies from Kingston. Nick and his wife Hayley live in Clapham, South London, with their two young children - Millie and Scarlett. Apart from his family, Nick's passions and relaxations are photography, live music and a long distance relationship with the ever challenging Leeds United.

Languages

English

An idea worth spreading

The "When Component" - Come to the U Theatre 13th July at 10.45am to hear about it.

I'm passionate about

my kids, live music, photography, getting better at ice skating

Talk to me about

(1) the energy and CO2 challenge, (2) the challenge of changing one’s behaviour, (3) new approaches to idea generation, (4) great live music and (5) photography

People don't know I'm good at

...learning to get good at ice skating!

Comments & conversations

75443
Nick Allen
Posted almost 3 years ago
A conversation with Shell: How can the smarter use of energy and other resources unlock the true potential of cities?
Griffin, another case of inventive systems thinking. A number of insights thread through this conversation in the past two weeks. 2 are triggered by your comment: - looking to optimise the whole (or a great part of) the system rather than only a single part/individual elements of it - solutions come out of the imposition of new constraints - nothing focusses the mind more than significant constraints One example ive picked up recently is how the Japanese are looking to address their significant electricity supply constraint through optimising the home/car axis. All require new behaviours/habits, which sometimes constrain the ability to grasp the potential for new solutions like these, but stranger things happen. -
75443
Nick Allen
Posted almost 3 years ago
A conversation with Shell: How can the smarter use of energy and other resources unlock the true potential of cities?
Tone, many thanks. Clearly solar is a renewables technology that is starting to be widely deployed, and a space that the Chinese are very active in, among others At Shell, we do not have direct involvement in solar, however Show Shell in Japan (of which we have a shareholding) does. Our involvement in renewables focuses on managing wind farms and more specifically significant focus on biofuels, and particularly advanced biofuels.
75443
Nick Allen
Posted almost 3 years ago
A conversation with Shell: How can the smarter use of energy and other resources unlock the true potential of cities?
Adam, thanks. Completely agree. Having lived in 2 close but very different Asian cities (Bangkok and Singapore) I can recognise the challenge -even before the recent terrible experience in Bangkok. Singapore has a drainage system that is usually able to manage dispersion of significant amounts of water, whereas Bangkok is more succeptible to flash floods. Hwoever, even with the civil engineering capability of Singapore, flash floods are a challenge - as experienced in 2010, 2011, 2012. A key question for many cities looking forward is...when the stress test their drainage systems for increased volatility of rainfall, can they cope? I like the systems thinking of harnessing the kinetic energy potential of the flows of water - potentially turning the challenge into a strength. Do you have any practical examples?
75443
Nick Allen
Posted about 3 years ago
A conversation with Shell: How can the smarter use of energy and other resources unlock the true potential of cities?
David, thanks for the question – you’re right to be concerned. I have kids and think about the future world they’ll be living in. I can give you some answers to our points, but we DO face a huge multifaceted problem – rising energy demand and an evolving world energy system with economic/environmental/political impacts of any decisions made. We are on our way to 9 billion. In the decades to come, major economies will continue to consume energy to grow. In developing countries many people will become more prosperous, able to enjoy the benefits we in the West take for granted. In short, the world will need more energy. What is important is the source of that energy. Fossil fuels will still provide the bulk of this energy with, we believe, a greater role to play for cleaner-burning natural gas. Renewable energy, including low-carbon biofuels for transport, are important and will also increase steadily. At Shell we believe responsibly delivering cleaner/more reliable/affordable energy is the best contribution we can make to a more stable world where economies can thrive. To do this we work with communities/ companies/governments/consumers/NGOs and we know there is much work to do to meet the challenges of building a sustainable energy future. After the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, the energy industry rightly came under intense scrutiny. For Shell, safety remains our top priority. Our standards are rigorous. If things do not go as planned we respond decisively, and we investigate all incidents to learn and improve performance. We prepare thoroughly to prevent incidents. This summer, we intend to start exploration drilling in waters off Alaska. We have worked closely with communities/coastguards /regulatory authorities to put the necessary safeguards in place. This collaborative effort has been invaluable. Shell was also a founding member of the UN Global Compact and we support its principles in human rights/labour/environment/anti corruption. Hope this helps
75443
Nick Allen
Posted about 3 years ago
A conversation with Shell: How can the smarter use of energy and other resources unlock the true potential of cities?
Wow, a provocative thought Thomas. Whilst I'm not completely on the same wavelength concerning your ultimate prognosis for cities (although there may be some Mayan gods looking down who may disagree), there is some logic in the direction of your thinking, Decentralised energy and the ability to access some important requirements without now having to leave our homes (goods, work, education) means that we are less tied to the old structures of cities. Projecting forward (and probably a long way forward), the promise of the 3D printer may liberate us in so many other ways, and make us self sufficient in ways we can only now imagne. This may lead to looser communities and migration out of cities by certain groups, however they'll still almost certainly pass at the city limits folks coming the other way, attracted by the things that in their personal circumstances are not available in rural communities. As i fnish this, I am reminded of Logan's Run...but there I go showing my age!
75443
Nick Allen
Posted about 3 years ago
A conversation with Shell: How can the smarter use of energy and other resources unlock the true potential of cities?
Bob, as a friend of mine would say - fair shout. There is clearly a strong relationship between the development of a city, and the actions of its Federal government. What interests me are the examples where they are to a great extent in sync, at least at the strategy/intent level. If you look a China, the Federal government knows that the success of its 5 Year Plan is to a great extent in the hands of its cities, as this is where much of the delivery will happen. This is true for the current 12th 5 Year Plan. The Federal government set the priorities, overall targets and the menu of delivery options that can deliver these. Then targets are passed on to the municipal leaders, and they are then responsible for defining the priority initiatives for their city that will help deliver these targets. Looking outside China there are also cases where the municipal leader is strong enough, and has sufficient budget to operate with a level of independence. In summary, regulation that can enable the right solutions, and the availability of funding to deliver these solutions are so important. The two are linked - as regulation so often enables the creation of the market environment that promotes private funding, and a fully functioning Cap &Trade scheme is a good example f this. Finally, the food-water-energy-waste point you make is bang on. As Norbert pointed out in an earlier entry, understanding these stresses in key locations is critical, as is the creation of solutions that start to optimise around these, as I mentioned earlier this week. Tough stuff...
75443
Nick Allen
Posted about 3 years ago
A conversation with Shell: How can the smarter use of energy and other resources unlock the true potential of cities?
Greg, clearly more research is required. We undertook a piece of work in 2010 to look at all of the studies around the world on how to change behaviour around the use of transportation. We learnt some interesting insights that allowed us to draw initial conclusions - conflicting individual goals hold back change, change is most achievable when individuals have a change in life stage - move house, move job, have children, and look for complimentary goals. We also learnt that in this small area of human behaviour in cities, there is limited amount of imperial evidence. My learning is that advancement will come through collaboration between the groups you mention - and a 'market place'/platform will help with this.
75443
Nick Allen
Posted about 3 years ago
A conversation with Shell: How can the smarter use of energy and other resources unlock the true potential of cities?
R H, good question. I fully agree that a real challenge is/will be the urban base of the pyramid, that technologies/solutions are required to address these social challenges, and that policies will be critical for success. I don't have a clever answer to the question, but here's a thought which came out of a lunchtime TED discussion on Monday on the integrated challenge of food-water-energy. A potential starting point is for society/individuals to agree a sense of "...what is a good life". Sounds like a nebulous concept but it has the potential to give governments (local, national etc) the necessary permission to redistribute value and hence implement some of the rebalancing that you raise. I'm not saying that this is a pre-requisite but it may certainly help. Other views?
75443
Nick Allen
Posted about 3 years ago
A conversation with Shell: How can the smarter use of energy and other resources unlock the true potential of cities?
We've just finished a lunch discussion at TEDGlobal about 'mobility for an urbanised world', involving folks from architects, tech labs, idea foundations, a range of industries, new business ventures, to name a few. The group discussed 3 things - the challenges, potential solutions, and what it would take to make these happen. It would be impossible to do justice to everything that was discussed...but here's a quick summary of the ideas that came out: a) individual behaviour is deeply ingrained and we need to understand this better b) understanding individual freedom of choice is key, amd especially how this fits with delivering an overall social benefit c) urban planning is a big subject and one consideration is the development of smaller self contained cities within cities d) in designing solutions we need to learn from how the Internet developed - creat the platform/standards to create Peer-to-peer connections/collaborations e) we need to take advantage of the rapid growth In neuropsychology and behavioural economics to help better understand how people make choices in city transportation f) cities are diverse and their needs/requirements are so contextually driven that the combination of solutions will be unique to each city (the needs of developing/developed markets are very different) g) electric vehicles will play a role in some cities along with other solutions - need to be pragmatic in designing the infrastructure h) the role of data and information technology to transform what's possible is potentially immense I) players need to be open for collaborations - because collaboration will be critical to successful solutions J) a radical idea of governments designing a system that lives within identified limits (ie: resources) then working out how we live/operate within that h) moving goods can be redesigned/optimised... Clearly, there are conflicts/contradictions here...but there sits the challenge...and the opportunity...
75443
Nick Allen
Posted about 3 years ago
A conversation with Shell: How can the smarter use of energy and other resources unlock the true potential of cities?
A couple of very interesting TEDGlobal talks this afternoon that triggered some ideas/inspirations related to the cities challenge. First, Catarina Mota's talk on 'open materials' - considering the importance of buildings and infrastructure for city development, where are the untapped opportunities for 'smart materials', and specifically Inks that conduct electricity and Walls that change colour as they heat up. Second, Massimo Banzi's talk on radical openness, the 'makers forum/community', and specifically the power of the Arduino micro controller to enable more intelligent and intuitive cities. For both, it begs the question, how do different stakeholders collaborate to understand the potential of these technologies?