We engage with communities as part of our approach to managing human rights and providing access to remedy. Shell’s HSSE & SP Control Framework helps us operate responsibly and avoid or minimise potentially negative social impacts of our operations. The requirements set out in the framework also help us in our aim to be a positive presence in the communities through, for example, local employment and contractual opportunities. When we divest assets or exit areas, we apply well-established processes systematically to guide our risk assessment with the aim of leaving a positive legacy.
The requirements are supplemented by guidance that helps practitioners on the ground to engage with communities around our operations. Major projects and facilities operated by Shell have a social performance plan for managing potentially negative impacts, such as noise pollution, and maximising benefits, such as using local suppliers. These plans typically begin with defining the social environment, focusing in particular on people who may be especially vulnerable to the potential impacts of our operations. In larger facilities, we implement a community feedback mechanism for listening and responding to questions and resolving complaints in a timely manner. We have specific requirements to avoid, minimise or mitigate potential impacts on the traditional lifestyles and cultural heritage of Indigenous Peoples. We also have specific requirements to avoid, minimise or mitigate their involuntary resettlement.
We use our online community feedback tool, launched in 2020, to track and respond to questions, complaints and feedback that we receive. It allows our network of about 121 community engagement practitioners to document feedback and outcomes. They are the face of Shell in the communities and act as a bridge between communities and our activities.
We continually seek to improve our community engagement and to align with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. As part of this we work with selected sites to improve their community feedback mechanisms in the following areas:
- promoting public access to and transparency of the sites’ community feedback mechanisms;
- improving written procedures so they are better aligned with global good practice and more reflective of local circumstances;
- providing clear steps for recognising alternative options for communities to seek remedy; and
- respecting people’s anonymity and data privacy.
In 2022, we developed new community feedback mechanism procedures for four additional sites, bringing the total number of sites with operational feedback procedures aligned with the effectiveness criteria spelled out in the UN Guiding Principles to 16. Several more sites have procedures in place which are not specifically aligned with those criteria.
In 2022, we used the data in our online reporting tool to analyse how feedback was addressed. We found that most issues were resolved directly by the community engagement practitioners and the remainder were resolved by site management.
See our website shell.com for more information about our work with communities.