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Living by our principles

Our business principles are the foundation for the way we work. They govern how we behave, the policies and processes we follow, and the decisions we make. They also guide the way we manage the impact of our operations on the environment and our approach to working with communities.

Shell General Business Principles

We were one of the first companies to publish business principles, in 1976. They set the standards for the way we conduct business with integrity, and our respect for the environment and local communities. They also detail our responsibilities towards customers, suppliers, partners, employees, shareholders, and to broader society. All Shell employees and contractors, and those at joint ventures we operate, are expected to comply with our business principles. In joint ventures we do not control, we encourage our partners to apply principles consistent with our own. Mechanisms exist to make employees aware of the principles and act in accordance with them.

Shell Code of Conduct

Our Code of Conduct helps employees and contractors to meet the standards and behaviours expected of them as set out in our business principles. Confidential channels, including a global telephone helpline and website, are available for anyone to report breaches, anonymously if they wish. The Code of Conduct covers areas including fighting corrupt practices, national and international trade, and safeguarding information and assets. Shell provides mandatory training in the ethical and legal aspects of all these areas.


During 2012, Shell organised several events to engage with socially responsible institutional investors on the sustainability aspects of our operations worldwide. In London, one event focused on safety, biofuels, climate change, oil sands, tight oil and gas, Nigeria and the Arctic. We hosted a visit to Nigeria to review the difficult operating environment and the large-scale oil theft occurring in parts of the Niger Delta. We also held sessions on our Alaska offshore drilling programme for investors in the UK and the Netherlands.