Living by our principles

The core values of honesty, integrity and respect for people are reflected in our business principles, which strictly govern the way we work.

Our business principles

The Shell General Business Principles detail our responsibilities to shareholders, customers, employees, business partners and society. They set the standards for the way we conduct business, with honesty, integrity and respect for people, the environment and communities. We aim to do business fairly, ethically and in accordance with laws that promote and safeguard fair competition between businesses. We do not tolerate the direct or indirect offer, payment, solicitation or acceptance of bribes in any form, including facilitation payments.

All Shell companies and joint ventures that we operate must conduct their activities in line with our business principles. We also encourage joint ventures we do not operate to apply materially equivalent business principles.

Our Code of Conduct

All Shell employees, contractors and anyone acting on behalf of Shell must follow the Code of Conduct, which describes the behaviour Shell expects of individuals. The Code of Conduct was refreshed in 2015, making it easier for individuals to identify potential risks associated with their roles. All employees and contractors are required to complete Code of Conduct training.

We encourage employees and contractors to seek advice and report concerns of any potential breaches, anonymously if they wish. Concerns or allegations are investigated by specialists within Shell and if a violation is confirmed, we take appropriate action. This may involve serious consequences, up to and including dismissal or contract termination. We maintain a stringent no retaliation policy to protect any person making a good faith allegation.

Business integrity in our supply chain

The Shell Supplier Principles, along with specific contractual clauses, set out our expectations for suppliers and contractors to behave with business integrity. (See Contractors and suppliers). Our risk-based due diligence processes assess prospective suppliers to determine whether they can meet our expectations. We regularly engage with suppliers to reinforce these principles, offer support to help them strengthen their own practices, if needed, and to hold them accountable for their performance.

Human rights

We respect human rights and our approach applies to all of our employees and contractors. It is informed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the core conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Respect for human rights and provision of remedy are ways in which we uphold our business principles.

We consult with international organisations, companies, civil society and other relevant bodies to understand and respond to current and emerging human rights topics. (See Collaborations). We collaborate closely with the Danish Institute of Human Rights to assess and improve our approach to human rights. We participate in working groups (the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues) to develop guidance and implementation tools to improve respect for human rights across the industry.

Our human rights approach focuses on four key areas:


We assess and manage the potential environmental, health and community impacts of our projects in line with international standards, such as the International Finance Corporation’s performance standards on environmental and social sustainability. Our community engagement mechanisms allow our neighbours to raise any concerns about the impacts of our activities and enable us to respond to those concerns through credible and effective non-judicial processes. These mechanisms are informed by, and are important components of, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.


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

Labour rights

We respect the principles of freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, non-discrimination and equal opportunity, adequate conditions of work, adequate remuneration and the elimination of forced labour and child labour. We respect the rights of our employees, contractors and suppliers by working in alignment with ILO conventions and the UN Global Compact.

Supply chain

We seek to work with contractors and suppliers who are committed to acting in an environmentally and socially responsible way. In line with our business principles, the Shell Supplier Principles include specific expectations for contractors and suppliers concerning labour and human rights. (See Contractors and suppliers).

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 their rights. (See Listening and responding). Our approach is to work with indigenous communities to find ways to mitigate negative impacts and to help neighbouring communities benefit from our activities. We train our employees to understand how to work and engage with indigenous peoples. And 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.

United Nations
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the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues
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