Asia is the fastest growing region in the world, with a billion people added to its cities from 1980 to 2010. The vital resources of energy, water and food are coming under great pressure as a result. Urbanisation drives Asia’s position as an economic powerhouse, but for this growth to be sustainable, careful planning is being urged to create more resilient cities that are not only resource-efficient, but also promote quality of life.

To address these challenges, the Powering Progress Together Forum featured interactive presentations, interviews and lively panel discussions featuring a diverse group of leading experts including His Excellency Asif Ahmad (British Ambassador to the Philippines), Ms Saya Kitasei (Head of Resilience at international environmental advisory firm Xyntéo), Glynn Ellis (Strategic Energy Advisor, Shell Corporate Strategy and Planning), Architect Felino “Jun” Palafox, Jr., (Principal Architect and Urban Planner, Palafox Associates) and Holger Dalkmann (Director at Embarq, a World Resources Institute programme on sustainable transport).

“Urbanisation will be one of the most significant dynamics affecting the future, presenting both opportunities and risks,” said Glynn Ellis, Ph.D., of the Shell Scenarios group which spearheads the company’s practice of exploring plausible alternative visions of the future to help test and strengthen its current business decisions.

With experience in scenario-building for more than 40 years, last year Shell published the “New Lenses on Future Cities” report. It is the latest in a range of new analytical tools—so-called "lenses"— to help better understand the urbanising world and to support city planning and development.

“We applied these lenses to different city types and created scenarios around how individual cities could evolve and how they might be more efficient,” explains Ellis. “Shell’s Scenarios team continues to engage directly with the cities themselves — including the city mayors, councils, federal authorities, non-profit organisations and communities — to listen to and try to understand their vision for progress and the challenges that they may be facing to achieve that growth.”

Beyond academic and subject matter experts, the Powering Progress Together Forum showcased the private sector’s perspective on contributing to resilience. This was led by Shell Philippines country chairman Edgar Chua, Coca-Cola director for sustainability in ASEAN Stuart Hawkins and Hewlett-Packard vice president for public sector programs Suparno Banerjee.

The forum also spotlighted inspirational stories on innovative sustainability initiatives, such as the Liter of Light project spearheaded by social entrepreneur Illac Diaz, and efficient disaster relief management efforts in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, presented by American Red Cross situational awareness manager Luke Beckman.

“Each sector of society has an important contribution in creating more sustainable cities of the future. Through collaborative action, cities—homes to billions of people—can be the sustainable hubs we need them to be,” concludes Ellis.

About Shell Eco-marathon

Shell Eco-marathon began in 1939 at a Shell research laboratory in the United States as a friendly wager between scientists to see who could get the most miles per gallon from their vehicle. The winner of that contest barely achieved 50 mpg (21 km/l), and from these humble origins, a more organized competition evolved. In 1985 in France, Shell Eco-marathon as we know it today was born. In April 2007, the Shell Eco-marathon Americas event was launched in the United States, and in 2010, the inaugural Shell Eco-marathon Asia was held in Malaysia. Malaysia hosted Shell Eco-Marathon Asia until 2013. Since 2014, the event is being held in Manila, Philippines, which will continue to host the event until 2016.


To follow the discussion, join the Rappler livestream on February 26 at


Shell Asia-Pacific Media Relations