Shell has environmental partnerships with Wetlands International, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Earthwatch. Our environmental partners can bring specific expertise to our projects in areas such as biodiversity, while they can advance their own scientific or conservation knowledge by working on our projects.
Protecting the Arctic’s critical habitats with Wetlands International
Wetlands International is working with Shell to identify and assess critical habitats in the Arctic regions. Wetlands International has developed a tool that predicts the distribution of Arctic species. The tool maps critical wetland habitats for species in the Arctic, including migratory waterbirds and endangered species. The information it generates follows the International Finance Corporation’s performance standards and will become part of Shell’s standard biodiversity screening tools. It has been used by our project teams to screen for sensitive areas and to help manage and prevent potentially adverse impacts on Arctic biodiversity. We have been working with Wetlands International since 2001 on projects that range from managing biodiversity and water issues at our operations in Iraq, Brunei and Canada to strengthening sustainability practices with communities in Nigeria.
Protecting whales with IUCN
Shell and IUCN have been working together since 2004 to minimise the impacts on western gray whales at Shell’s joint-venture operations at Sakhalin, Russia. Under the guidance of the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel – a panel of 13 prominent scientists convened by IUCN – we have worked to reduce the impacts that phases of our operations may have on the whales and their habitat. In 2005, we rerouted pipelines away from the whales’ feeding grounds. In 2015, Sakhalin Energy was the only energy company operating at Sakhalin that had an IUCN independent observer on their team implementing a seismic survey monitoring and mitigation programme. The panel will continue to examine the impact of oil and gas development on the whales following a positive review of its role in 2015.
Mapping biodiversity and rehabilitating coastlines with TNC
Shell and TNC have completed a pilot project to map critical biodiversity in three watersheds of the central Magdalena River Basin in Colombia – a place of important environmental and cultural significance. The results will be made publicly available and will provide the energy industry and the Colombian government with an understanding of local biodiversity.
We have also been working with TNC to develop a nature-based approach to reduce the cost and rate of erosion along the pipelines in the Louisiana coastal zone. This is done by creating living shorelines with planted vegetation, or creating oyster reefs to restore wetlands and improve the resilience of the coastline. Over time, the living shorelines will also enhance the local flora and fauna.
Employees participate in Earthwatch activities
Our employee volunteer partnership, Project Better World, has been running for 18 years. As part of this, Shell sponsors employees to work with scientists and communities on environmental research and conservation projects. This deepens our employees’ understanding of sustainability in areas such as climate change and habitat loss. In another programme, Shell employees provide mentoring to managers in organisations working to preserve protected areas. To date, over 800 Shell employees have taken part in the Earthwatch programmes.