All our employees and contractors are required to respect the human rights of fellow workers and communities where we operate, as stated in our business principles. We focus on four areas across Shell’s activities where respect for human rights is particularly critical to the way we operate: labour conditions, communities, supply chains and security. In 2013, we launched a new e-learning tool on human rights, which is available to all employees and contractors.
While it is the duty of governments to protect human rights, we recognise our responsibility to respect them. We work with international organisations, businesses, civil society and other bodies to understand and respond to current and emerging issues on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
We have community feedback mechanisms that enable people neighbouring our operations to share any concerns about the impacts of our activities. During 2013, we worked to improve our programmes. This was based on outcomes from pilots at some of our major projects and facilities, as well as experiences shared with companies in IPIECA, the oil and gas industry association for social and environmental issues. This informed our efforts to align with good industry practice.
Our collaboration with the Danish Institute for Human Rights assesses and provides guidance on our human rights practices. Shell played a key role in the development of an industry guide on human rights and impact assessment, launched by the Danish Institute for Human Rights and IPIECA. The guide was launched at the end of 2012.
Our activities can affect indigenous peoples who hold specific rights to protect their distinct cultures and ways of life under many national or international laws. We ensure that the views and traditional ways of life of indigenous communities that may be affected by our projects are factored into our project planning. For example, we have been working closely with the Iñupiaq people in Alaska to ensure that their subsistence activities are not interrupted by our operations.
A particular concern for indigenous peoples’ rights is resettlement – the loss of access to shelter, assets or livelihoods from land acquired for our projects. It is considered involuntary resettlement when affected individuals or communities do not have the right to refuse the acquisition. As part of our respect for human rights, we have guidelines that seek to avoid this in our projects and operations. If physical or economic resettlement is unavoidable, we develop and implement action plans or livelihood restoration plans in consultation with local parties.
Security and human rights
We have requirements to keep employees, contractors and facilities safe, while respecting the human rights and security of local communities. We have been implementing the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR) since their development in 2000. These principles offer guidance on assessing risks when working with private and public security. We include them in our private security contracts.
Annual risk assessments take place in our operations. This includes verification that employees and contractors who are responsible for the security of our facilities are trained to apply the VPSHR. We provide additional training where needed.