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Focus on partners and collaboration

Collaboration among business, government and civil society is necessary to address the scale of the challenges that the world faces. We work at the international and local level to enhance our understanding of these challenges.

A family transports dry reeds for buffalo feed across the flooded Hawizeh marshland, near our Majnoon facility in Iraq (photo)
A family transports dry reeds across the
flooded Hawizeh marshland, near our
Majnoon project in Iraq, to be used as
feed for their buffaloes.

Our partnerships and broader collaborations are of vital importance to our new projects and ongoing operations. They can also play a beneficial role in helping to build trust among our stakeholders. We work with government, business and civil society, including non-governmental organisations, to contribute to broader public dialogue, academic debate and advocacy in areas such as energy and climate policy. We also partner with organisations that can advise us in specific areas such as biodiversity or human rights.

This work can lead to improved practices or new guidelines, such as the IPIECA guide for the oil and gas industry on human rights. IPIECA is the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues. We also work with organisations such as the European Commission and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to apply effective advocacy on environmental and community topics. This includes advocacy on issues such as carbon pricing.

Environmental partners

We work with several environmental organisations, including Earthwatch, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The Nature Conservancy and Wetlands International, to find effective ways to address environmental challenges, including protecting and enhancing the environment around our operations. These collaborations can be mutually beneficial by reducing our environmental impact and sharing knowledge.

Working with our partners leads to improvements in our projects and operations. For example, our work with Wetlands International has helped us to gain a better understanding of wetland conservation techniques around pipelines in Brunei. Our collaborations can also help to advance science and conservation information. We are a founding member of the Proteus Partnership, where we support the work of IUCN and the United Nations Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre to maintain the free and publicly available World Database on Protected Areas.

We have been involved in numerous initiatives with IUCN, the world’s largest conservation network, over the last 15 years. Our joint work has focused on enhancing biodiversity conservation performance, strengthening the management of protected areas, advancing science, developing public policy and improving general awareness through the support of IUCN knowledge products such as the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.

Wetlands International has been a partner since 2008. We are working with them to support the conservation of biodiversity of the sensitive marshlands near our Majnoon project in Iraq. These wetlands were severely damaged by past drainage and war, which constrained water availability. Restoration of these marshlands will help the environment and the communities who depend on this resource for their livelihoods.

Our work with The Nature Conservancy has continued for more than five years. We are currently assessing the potential to deploy natural systems such as oyster reefs and floating islands to help protect one of our pipeline systems in the Gulf of Mexico. These natural systems can serve as a breakwater and help reduce coastal erosion. In 2013, we advanced this project and identified a specialised environmental engineering company that aims to design these natural infrastructure solutions.

We are now in the 16th year of our employee volunteering programme, Project Better World, in partnership with Earthwatch. Our employees have the opportunity to take part in scientific expeditions for two weeks at multiple locations around the world. In 2013, we introduced a new Enhanced Learning Programme for employees. Those who take part in the programme must implement an action plan related to sustainability that is relevant to Shell. Three Enhanced Learning Programme expeditions will take place in 2014.

We also continue to run a business mentoring programme with Earthwatch, to work with managers of World Heritage sites to develop business plans and improve the management of these areas. The Shell employees taking part provide mentoring for a year.

Partnering for communities

We work with organisations that focus on social challenges or community development. These collaborations can help to raise operational practices in our business and for the energy sector. For example, we continue to work with the Danish Institute for Human Rights to help us integrate human rights into the areas of labour practices, procurement, security and community impact.

We are also a core member of the Global Road Safety Partnership, along with four other international companies, which works to reduce road accident injuries in low- and middle-income countries. Many Shell locations also implement local road safety programmes. In Turkey, for example, Shell worked in co-operation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and relevant government departments to raise public awareness of road safety across the country. The campaign particularly encouraged people to wear seatbelts and reached 96,000 people over two years.

Across the world, we work with organisations like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to implement our community programmes. These organisations can offer local knowledge and help us to identify community needs, such as jobs or better health care. For example, in Iraq the UNDP helps us to improve our programmes which help women to build businesses and support youth development skills. In Somalia, we are part of a shipping industry initiative with the UNDP and its partners to support long-term employment opportunities for young adults by providing viable employment alternatives to illegal activity such as piracy. The initiative supports projects for young adults in agricultural and fishing industries.