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Human rights and indigenous peoples

Human rights

We have the responsibility and commitment to respect human rights. Our human rights policy is informed by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and applies to all of our employees and contractors. Since 2010, we have been working to integrate human rights into existing policies, systems and practices. We embrace a diverse and inclusive work force and have an equal opportunities policy. (See “Our people”).

We consult with international organisations, companies, civil society and relevant bodies to understand and respond to current and emerging human rights issues. We also work with oil and gas industry bodies to help other companies adopt human rights practices. For example, in 2014, we helped IPIECA (the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues) develop a manual about community grievance mechanisms to offer practical tools for the industry to implement mechanisms for communities. Our human rights approach focuses on four key areas:


We assess the potential environmental, health and community impacts of our projects. (See “Engaging with communities”). We have community feedback mechanisms in place to enable people neighbouring our operations to raise concerns about the impacts of our activities and remedy any issues.


We aim to keep employees, contractors and facilities safe, while respecting the human rights and security of local communities. We implement the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR) and include them in our private security contracts and in our engagements with public security forces. We conduct annual risk assessments in our relevant operations and provide training to relevant employees and contractors.

Labour rights

The UN Global Compact, of which we are a signatory, details labour rights within its principles. We apply the core International Labour Organisation conventions on workers’ rights and respond to current and emerging issues on the implementation of the Global Compact principles. We also work to reflect this throughout our supply chain. (See “Human rights and worker welfare”).

Supply chain

The Shell Supplier Principles were introduced in 2011 and apply to all our suppliers and contractors. They set out the expectations we have of our suppliers and contractors about labour conditions as well as business integrity, heath, safety and social performance. In 2014, we developed a guide on worker welfare for our projects. (See “Human rights and worker welfare”).

Indigenous peoples

Our activities have the potential to affect indigenous peoples who hold specific rights for the protection of their cultures and traditional ways of life. We consult and engage with indigenous communities to understand how our activities may impact upon their rights. We then find ways to mitigate any negative impacts and to benefit the communities. For example, in Canada we have several agreements in place that describe our intent to work with many First Nations and Métis communities to strengthen relationships, consult and engage on our projects.

We also train our employees to understand how to work and engage with indigenous peoples. We continue to work with IPIECA to develop a consistent approach and best practice across the oil and gas sector for free, prior and informed consent.