Managing our impact on people

Indigenous peoples

Our activities can affect indigenous peoples who hold specific rights for the protection of their cultures, traditional ways of life and special connections to land and water. We seek the support and agreement of indigenous peoples potentially affected by our projects. We do this through dialogue and impact management processes.

Shell has also developed a public position statement on Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), a principle recognised in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We work to ensure we meet the requirements of FPIC for governments and companies to obtain the support of indigenous peoples before starting a project that may affect their rights. For example, the Canada joint venture (Shell interest 40%) was planned and designed by working closely with the Haisla Nation and six other indigenous communities.

Aamjiwnaang First Nation Chief, Canada (photo)

In Canada, we worked with Aamjiwnaang First Nation members to transfer land near the Shell Sarnia Manufacturing Centre back to the community.

In addition to securing support for projects, we look for opportunities to minimise the impact on our indigenous neighbours and their land rights. In 2019, Shell Canada returned around 0.2 square kilometres of land to the Aamjiwnaang First Nation. The land is next to Shell’s Sarnia manufacturing facility and was acquired by Shell Canada in the 1960s. This is the first time Shell Canada has returned land to its ancestral owners and is the result of several years of engagement. The indigenous community plans to build around 60 homes on the land.

We also help to create employment for indigenous peoples through our local content and skills development programmes. For example, Shell Australia has been working with the Wirrpanda Foundation on a multi-year programme for unemployed Aboriginal job seekers to improve their physical fitness and self-confidence and provide training and networking opportunities. The programme has so far helped 130 people secure jobs. Around 80% of the programme’s graduates retained jobs for more than one year.

Cultural heritage

Preserving cultural heritage is an important part of our efforts to manage our social impact.

Cultural heritage refers to places of archaeological, historical, cultural, artistic and religious significance. It also includes unique environmental features, cultural knowledge and traditional lifestyles that should be preserved.

Before starting projects, we develop “chance find procedures” to deal with previously unknown heritage resources that may be discovered during construction. We aim to ensure these procedures adhere to industry standards and have mandated them in Shell’s Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Social Performance Control Framework.

We also provide training for inspectors to make them fully aware of cultural resources and give them the authority to halt work if necessary.

In 2019, Shell Pipeline Company LP started construction of the Falcon Pipeline that will connect three major ethane source points in Pennsylvania and Ohio, USA. When planning the pipeline, we engaged with around 1,200 landowners and surveyed about 320 square kilometres to identify sites of archaeological importance. We took steps to avoid these sites, such as adjusting the pipeline’s path and using horizontal drilling. This enabled us to protect, among other areas, a prehistoric Native American site and a residential and farming complex containing historic artefacts.

In Albania, we commissioned an archaeological field survey ahead of onshore exploration. This revealed several sites of historical significance, such as cemeteries, mosques and churches, dating back to the Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. As a result, we identified new target areas for a seismic survey to avoid damaging these historic areas.

Pipeline for the Falcon Ethane Pipeline System, arriving from Japan on the Clipper Kamoshio at the Port of Philadelphia, USA (photo)

Material for the Falcon ethane pipeline system arrived from Japan on the Clipper Kamoshio vessel into the Port of Philadelphia, USA.

Modern slavery

Shell is opposed to all forms of modern slavery. Such exploitation is against our commitment to respect human rights as set out in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization’s core conventions.

We continually work to safeguard human rights in all aspects of doing business and have embedded human rights in our General Business Principles, Code of Conduct and Shell Supplier Principles.

We also expect our contractors and suppliers to respect human rights as set out in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization’s core conventions. In our model procurement contracts, contractors and suppliers agree to adhere to our general business principles and supplier principles. Suppliers are required to comply with all applicable laws and regulations of the country or countries in which they do business and agree to provide and maintain safe and healthy working conditions for all supplier personnel.

Parts of our supply chain may pose higher labour rights risk due to the location and type of goods and services procured. We carry out risk assessments combining both these areas. For location, we use external indices from risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft to check potential modern slavery risks. For types of goods and services, we have identified sectors where there may be higher risks of unethical labour practices for migrant workers, such as in construction or maintenance services.

Read more about our approach in our statement under the UK Modern Slavery Act.

Involuntary resettlement

We sometimes require temporary or permanent access to areas of land or sea where people are living or working. Where resettlement is unavoidable, we work with local communities to help them resettle and maintain, or improve, their standard of living in accordance with international standards for resettlement (IFC Performance Standard 5). If necessary, we help support them as they establish alternative livelihoods.

For example, Karachaganak Petroleum Operating B.V. (KPO) (Shell interest 29.25%) completed the physical resettlement of 464 families in north-west Kazakhstan in 2018. In 2019, KPO focused on restoring their livelihoods, including working to upgrade houses, provide fertile soil for growing vegetables and build playgrounds.

Community Coordinator Mark Brazil meets with informal settlers living near to an import terminal, Philippines (photo)

In the Philippines, Community Coordinator Mark Brazil, met with informal settlers living near an import terminal to discuss their concerns following a formal public consultation led by the local government, the Philippine Ports Authority and Shell. Meetings like this help to avoid rumours and potential grievances escalating.

The North Mindanao Import Facility, Shell’s largest terminal in the southern Philippines, resettled 83 informal settlers due to noise from the facility’s fire-water reservoir and the expansion of the port authority’s berthing area. The facility worked with local government and non-government organisations to provide housing and compensation. Work to restore peoples’ livelihoods was ongoing in 2019; and an independent review found that resettled families were adjusting well. Read more about this work at

Internal voice

Mark Brazil, community coordinator at the North Mindanao Import Facility (photo)

Mark Brazil

Community coordinator

Mark Brazil has worked as a community coordinator for the North Mindanao Import Facility since construction of the project started in 2016.

“The biggest challenge that I personally faced was making sure to do things right. Delivering a resettlement programme, with the help of an experienced resettlement advisory team, involves the real lives of people being directly or indirectly impacted by a project. A company with strong adherence to social responsibility will ensure that impacted households should be given due attention to address their concerns. This will result in better well-being.

“Shell took on this task by cooperating with partners, such as the Philippine Port Authority, which owns the property, and complying with both local and international regulations and standards.

“We adopted a collaborative approach involving stakeholders, such as the government agencies, non-governmental organisations and the village leaders. We established an efficient communication strategy to coordinate all the different activities. We engaged in public consultation, open dialogue and negotiations until we reached agreement on the new site and the resettlement plan.

“Establishing livelihoods for people remains a challenge due to the distance from their former source of livelihood. We continue to work with the resettled families and Pilipinas Shell Foundation to identify income-generating activities at their new site.

“We have already carried out consultations and training needs assessments. We are also working with a local technical school to help people learn new skills so that they can learn how to generate an alternative income for their households.”


We continually seek to improve how we manage security risks to help protect our employees, contractors, fence-line communities and the environment.

We work to maintain the safety, security and human rights of our employees, contract staff and local communities. The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR) are implemented across Shell where there are identified threats of infraction.

We include clauses in our private security contract template and raise the principles in engagements with public security forces. We carry out annual risk assessments and develop plans to manage the identified risks.

Visit for more on our approach to human rights and security.  Read more about our implementation of the VPSHR at  

Internal voice

Michael Bell, Security manager for Basrah Gas Company, Iraq (photo)

Michael Bell

Security manager for Basrah Gas Company, Iraq

Shell provides coaching and mentoring for staff at the Basrah Gas Company joint venture (BGC, Shell interest 44%). Security staff were trained on the VPSHR as part of a broader skills training programme.

“My security team has worked for many years to maintain a secure environment for people connected to BGC. This involved security and human rights training, including for the Iraqi Oil Police Force, who are armed police that protect Iraq’s hydrocarbon infrastructure.

“Training Iraqi BGC guards and the Oil Police Force on the VPSHR posed a real challenge, mainly given Iraq’s ongoing struggle to balance security needs and human rights. Part of our approach was to modify training to reflect cultural norms, for example, using passages from the Koran.

“BGC guard training covered everything from simply wearing correct protective gear to operating access control systems for people entering facilities, to medical and firefighting training.

“BGC also conducted VPSHR briefings for the Oil Police Force and invested in security infrastructure, including patrol vehicles. This has improved safety and security for BGC employees and facilities and strengthened ties with the Oil Police Force. It also enables BGC to monitor alignment with the .

“As a result of this, we saw the Oil Police Force de-escalate a potentially deadly dispute recently between farmers who had exchanged small arms fire near the BGC living quarters. The Oil Police Force calmly disarmed and escorted the farmers to a police station. This is testament to their training in crowd management and non-lethal response.”

Tackling the cyber threat

Digitalisation and information technology systems play an increasingly important role in our operations. As a result, cyber security is central to managing the risk of data or information loss that could impact our people, environment and processes.

We continuously monitor external developments and share information on threats and security incidents. Our people are subject to mandatory courses and regular awareness campaigns to help protect us from cyber threats.

We periodically test and adapt cyber security response processes and seek to enhance our security monitoring capability.

Read more about our approach to cyber security in our Annual Report.

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liquefied natural gas
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Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights
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Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights
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