You are here:


Community engagement is fundamental to our approach to sustainability. It helps us to find better solutions, build people’s trust and is the basis for operating responsibly.

Reverend Albie Martin (photo)

External opinion

“At the opening of the Māui natural gas field in New Zealand in 1979, the Māori elders expressed the importance of conserving the environment. Shell assured them that safety and environmental protection was its first priority.

Over the last 35 years, I have witnessed many successes and some hard times. Two fatalities more than 20 years ago devastated our community and I have seen how Shell has learned enormously from that tragic day.

In southern New Zealand, Shell has recently been questioned by the Māori people about the potential environmental impacts of a proposed deep-water exploration. The Shell team spoke about the extensive prevention measures taken and the meticulous daily processes to ensure the workers, rig and the environment are safe.

Shell’s approach has reassured me. They are relentless to ensure continuous safety improvements are made each day. I ask that Shell shares its safety leadership across the industry and more broadly. I can vividly recall the opening of Māui in 1979: the same assurance given then has been upheld today, nearly 35 years later.”

Reverend Albie Martin
Chairperson of the Taranaki District Māaori Wardens, New Zealand

Many of our operations have neighbouring communities. While this can bring benefits to communities, it can sometimes have negative impacts. It is critical that we assess the potential impacts of our business activities and engage with communities.

We work closely with communities to understand their concerns and decide how to best address them. This can cover issues relating to how our projects may affect their lives, such as increased traffic or water use (see “Water”). We work to reduce any negative impacts on the people who live near our facilities and to manage those impacts that may be unavoidable.

This community engagement also helps to identify where we can bring benefits to communities. This includes supporting social investment programmes, employment and contractor opportunities, training and ecosystem restoration.

We develop a social performance plan for all our major projects and sites. These plans follow the HSSE & SP Control Framework which governs how we plan and operate. (See “Our standards”). We also use international standards as our benchmark, such as the International Finance Corporation’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards. Our engagement with communities and our social investment projects are measured against our social performance indicators and then analysed within Shell.

Social performance indicators

Our social performance indicators monitor the progress of our community engagement and where we share benefits with communities where we operate. The indicators include:

  • community complaints based on the category of complaint, acknowledgement of the issue, resolution time and whether a resolution was achieved;
  • disruption of operations from community unrest;
  • local spending on goods and services for use within our operations, particularly in lower-income countries;
  • the amount spent on voluntary social investment; and
  • number of people from the country who are employed on the project.

We continue to work on indicators to help us better assess the effectiveness of our community engagements.