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Our operations can create jobs in nearby communities and help develop local economies through supply chains. We recognise that our operations can also raise concerns. We work with our neighbours to address these concerns and share the benefits of our activities.

We aim to have a positive effect in the communities where we operate. We do this by working closely with our neighbours to create jobs and business opportunities, and develop community programmes. We also work to incorporate local views more effectively into our projects and decision-making. The outcome of these efforts is what we call our social performance.

Shell has global operating standards and mandatory requirements for how we work with communities our operations might affect. They provide a framework for how we work to reduce our impacts. This includes helping to conserve the traditional way of life of indigenous peoples, and guidelines on how to avoid the involuntary resettlement of communities.

All our major projects and facilities are required to have a social performance plan to help assess and minimise impacts. When we develop new projects, or plan an expansion to an existing facility, we work closely with local communities to identify mutually beneficial approaches and respond to their needs and expectations. This improves the way we make decisions and how we operate.

We continue to build the skills of our staff who work directly with communities. In 2011, we issued a social performance handbook that provides practical tools and guidance to help our specialists. An exchange programme allows these specialists to learn from each others’ experiences.

We share and discuss our business plans through community meetings and advisory panels consisting of local representatives. Our work towards the decommissioning of our Brent platforms in the North Sea, off the UK, is one example of this close collaboration. The steps we are taking to recycle water at our gas project in Groundbirch, Canada, is another.

Sharing benefits

Being part of the communities in which we work means sharing benefits. We hire and buy services and products locally wherever possible. We spent around $12 billion in 2011 on goods and services from companies in countries with lower incomes.

In addition to our 90,000 employees, more than 400,000 contractor staff around the world work for our company. We recruit and train local people. While this can be a government requirement that allows us to operate, we also do so voluntarily. In 2011, more than 90% of our employees were nationals.

To help local suppliers compete for contracts, we provide training in our global tendering and contract management process. We introduce local suppliers to global suppliers, helping both parties develop new business opportunities. In 2011, for example, Shell sponsored a joint Nigeria-China supplier forum in Nigeria, and held similar events in China, India and Mexico.