Our projects and facilities are a part of many communities around the world. We aim to have a positive effect in those communities. Through our operations we create jobs and business opportunities that help to build or rejuvenate local economies, and support community development projects. We also work to incorporate the views of those living close to our operations when we make decisions that may affect them. This is a responsible approach that builds trust and makes good business sense: without community support, projects and facilities can experience delays and other challenges. (For details see .)
Shell has global operating standards and mandatory requirements that set out how we work with the communities our operations might affect. Each of our major projects and facilities must have a social performance plan that frames the way we work to minimise our impacts, engage with communities and share benefits.
When we plan a new project or changes to an existing facility, we talk to local communities and listen to their expectations and concerns as early as possible (For details see ). Through the life cycle of our operations, we engage with local communities to identify their needs and opportunities for development. We work with indigenous peoples to preserve their way of life and culture, and learn from their traditional knowledge to improve the way we operate. Our approach includes guidelines on how to avoid the involuntary resettlement of communities.
We also discuss our business plans with advisory panels of local representatives or at community meetings. Our social performance guidelines help our specialists to engage respectfully and effectively during these and other meetings with communities. In 2012, we trained 272 social performance specialists. We also run courses to increase awareness of social performance-related topics for business managers, with 120 attending in 2012. We have increased the number of our community liaison staff and trained them to improve their skills in resolving conflicts and grievances at the community level, and developing joint benefits. The Consensus Building Institute, a not-for-profit organisation, developed this programme.
WORKING WITH COASTAL COMMUNITIES
Deep-water projects are vital to US Gulf Coast communities, providing jobs and helping to sustain a way of life. As we develop our Mars B deep-water platform, Shell is investing in a range of projects to help protect coastal communities. We have pledged $5 million to community and environmental projects, including the restoration of wetlands and coastlines damaged by hurricanes.
For example, Shell is providing $1 million to support a project that will almost double the size of Pelican Island, Louisiana, an important habitat for nesting wading birds that is threatened by coastal erosion. We are providing $500,000 to fund The Nature Conservancy’s restoration efforts on Shamrock Island in Corpus Christi Bay, Texas, another vital nesting habitat for up to 21 species of birds. We have also donated $500,000 to the Greater Lafourche Port Commission to restore and maintain a 1.6 km section of storm-damaged beach in Louisiana.
Shell is working to increase knowledge of the local environment. For instance, we are supporting a scientific documentary by the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, a non-profit conservation organisation. We involved 90 children from three schools in a community project to clean debris from 61 km of coastline on Matagorda Bay in Texas, and are producing an educational video on the project. Our $1 million donation is helping to fund the construction of the Bayou Country Children’s Museum in Thibodaux, Louisiana, which started in 2012.