Topic selection for 2016

The Shell Sustainability Report 2016 focuses on the key sustainability challenges the company faces and explores the many ways that we are responding. The topic selection identifies the sustainability subjects that were relevant or prominent in 2016.

Each year, we use a structured process to select the report’s content and confirm its validity. We engage with various groups and individuals to understand specific concerns about our business and its impacts around the world, particularly in relation to the environment and society.

This includes speaking with community representatives, business partners, customers, non-governmental organisations, investors, the media, academics, contractors and suppliers, ratings agencies and members of the public. We also talk to teams within Shell. We gather opinions and advice in various ways including formal and informal meetings, workshops and online surveys. We also considered the acquisition of BG in our topic selection. Given the extent of the similarities between the two companies, particularly our working practices, safety standards and controls, and global portfolio in deep water and liquefied natural gas, the review did not lead to any new topics being added to the report.  

The main steps involved in selecting the topics are:

Step 1: identifying and understanding topics that are important to our stakeholders;

Step 2: identifying topics that are important to Shell’s business strategy;

Step 3: collating all the topics identified as of high importance by our stakeholders – these topics determine the report’s content;

Step 4: identifying the topics for 2016 that will be covered elsewhere on;

Step 5: submitting details of the topic selection process for review and approval by the External Review Committee to ensure that coverage is balanced, relevant and complete; and

Step 6: informing Shell’s Executive Committee of the chosen topics, for their endorsement.

Topic selection diagram

Topic selection diagram (graph)Topic selection diagram (graph)

We have listed the selected topics in alphabetical order rather than prioritising them. The topics consistently ranked as of high importance in 2016 were energy transition and climate change; we have sections dedicated to these topics.

We report in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) version G4 and in line with the oil and gas industry guidelines developed by – the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues. We also use the guidance on voluntary reporting from the American Petroleum Institute and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers.

The  content index is available under GRI Index. Shell supports the United Nations Global Compact and its 10 principles covering human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. Sections of this sustainability report cover Shell’s performance in 2016 across these areas. We continue to follow the progress of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals through our membership of IPIECA, and have provided an overview of our activities in relation to some of these goals in this report.

More detailed information about Shell’s approach to sustainability, our processes and work around the world is available on Links to specific topics discussed in the report are published at the end of the web page under “More on other Shell websites”.

Topic selection diagram

Significance to

  • External Review Committee’s previous
    opinion letter
  • Civil society dialogues
  • Stakeholder relations review
  • Global media review
  • Investor feedback and indexes
  • Reader feedback and social media
  • Reputation tracker survey
  • Website visits
  • Report reviews by specialist organisations
Included in
Included on

Significance in
sustainability context

Resulting topics are considered in their broader sustainability context based on:

  • World Energy Outlook
  • WBCSD Vision 2050 report
  • Shell business environment outlook
  • Sustainability reporting guidelines and standards
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
    Fifth Assessment Report

Significance to
Shell strategy

  • Financial risks
  • Reputation risks
  • Sustainability priorities
  • Key projects
the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues
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Global Reporting Initiative
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