Biodiversity and sensitive areas

We seek to understand, avoid and respond to any potential impacts our activities may have on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

We use a tool called the mitigation hierarchy in our projects and operations to aim to minimise our impact on the environment as much as possible. When looking at biodiversity, for example, this means that we first aim to avoid impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Where avoidance is not possible, we aim to minimise our impact. Where our operations have affected biodiversity and the communities that rely on biodiversity for their livelihoods, we seek to help restore impacted habitats.

We also look for opportunities where we operate to make a positive contribution to conservation, also called net-positive impact. In 2003, we made the commitment that we will not explore for or develop oil and gas resources in natural World Heritage Sites. Find out more about our commitments at:

Visit for more on our approach to biodiversity.

Biodiversity management

At the Shell Moerdijk chemical complex in the Netherlands, our biodiversity action plan has helped maintain a variety of flora and fauna. It has also raised awareness about biodiversity among technical staff. For example, in 2019, planned maintenance work was adjusted after operators found a protected bird species nesting in equipment.

A butterfly in front of solar panels at Shell Moerdijk (photo)

Biodiversity research at the Shell Moerdijk chemical complex in the Netherlands may help to inform the design of solar parks more widely.

In 2019, we completed the installation of a solar park at Moerdijk. We worked with scientists from Dutch biodiversity centre Naturalis to study flora and fauna at the site. The research found a variety of species, including 34 bee species of which four are threatened in the Netherlands. The study provided insights into the optimum design for solar parks in relation to biodiversity.

External voice

Professor Dr. Koos Biesmeijer, Scientific Director at Naturalis Biodiversity Center, head of the Pollinator Ecology research group, and professor of Natural Capital at Leiden University (photo)

Professor Dr. Koos Biesmeijer

Scientific Director at Naturalis Biodiversity Center, head of the Pollinator Ecology research group, and professor of Natural Capital at Leiden University

“The transition to sustainable energy will have an impact on the world’s land use. While solar panels on roofs and other hard surfaces are preferred, many solar parks will appear in our landscapes.

“At Naturalis, we provide the knowledge to design and manage solar parks for biodiversity. With good design and careful management, solar parks can harbour many plant and animal species that are in need of more suitable habitats.

“At Shell’s Moerdijk solar park, we found many more species of pollinators than can be found on neighbouring agricultural land, including several threatened and rare species. This was a first, promising step.”

In Australia, the Shell-operated QGC natural gas producer in Central Queensland manages the 10,000-hectare Valkyrie property, a large area of open woodland, to offset our carbon emissions and impact on biodiversity (see Growing gas and power in Australia).

We also aim to increase biodiversity through reforestation projects as part of our nature-based solutions business (see Nature-based solutions).

We continue to support research programmes to protect life below water. For example, we are a member of the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers Joint Industry Programme on Sound and Marine Life, an initiative to improve understanding of the effect that sound generated by energy exploration and production has on marine life.