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Ethical leadership

Powering progress

Powering Progress is underpinned by our core values of honesty, integrity and respect for people, and our focus on safety. This includes our commitment to doing business in an ethical and transparent way.

Our core values of honesty, integrity and respect for people underpin our work with employees, customers, investors, contractors, suppliers, non-governmental organisations, the communities where we operate and others. The Shell General Business Principles set out our core values, our responsibilities and the principles and behaviours that guide how we do business. When entering a joint venture operated by a partner, we expect them to apply standards and processes, or principles, that are substantially equivalent to our own.

Code of Conduct

The Shell Code of Conduct explains how employees, contractors and anyone else acting on behalf of Shell must behave to live up to our business principles. The Code of Conduct covers safety, anti-bribery and corruption, fair competition, human rights and other important areas.

Shell employees, contractors and third parties can report any potential breaches of the Code of Conduct confidentially through several channels, including anonymously through a global helpline, operated by an independent provider. The three most frequent categories of alleged Code of Conduct breaches raised via the Shell Global Helpline in 2022 related to harassment, conflict of interest and protection of assets. We maintain a stringent no retaliation policy to protect any person making an allegation in good faith.

In November 2022, we issued the Do the Right Thing guidelines, which bring clarity and consistency to how we manage serious violations of our Code of Conduct. The guidelines help staff to know when to report breaches of the Code of Conduct and feel safe and protected about doing so.

In 2022 there were:

  • 1,790

    reports to the Shell Global Helpline

  • 183

    confirmed breaches of the Code of Conduct

  • 216

    employees or contractor staff subject to disciplinary action

  • 53

    people dismissed

Anti-bribery and corruption

Shell has rules on anti-bribery and corruption in its Code of Conduct and Ethics and Compliance Manual. Contractors and consultants are also required to act consistently with our Code of Conduct when working on our behalf.

Shell has around 24,000 suppliers worldwide (see Supply chain). Although our largest suppliers often have their own anti-bribery and corruption training programmes, smaller companies may lack the resources. We offer free training in anti-bribery and anti-corruption practices to selected suppliers and contractors. This training is available in 14 languages. In 2022, we offered training to 503 third-party companies in 23 countries.


Protecting personal data

Shell respects the privacy of individuals and recognises that personal data belong to the individual.

We maintain a data privacy programme, a comprehensive governance structure and established reporting lines to ensure consistent levels of data protection across the Group. Our staff and contractors receive clear guidance and training on the importance of managing data privacy risks.

Whenever we acquire a company, we work to ensure they follow our privacy compliance framework and information management standards. Some of our acquired companies in new business sectors are not yet in full compliance with the Shell Control Framework. We assess each company and put in place projects for them to achieve compliance, and provide regular updates on their progress.

In 2021, Shell’s large file transfer system, supplied by a third party, was hacked by cyber criminals. The incident resulted in Shell Turkey paying an administrative penalty in 2022 of around €13,000 to the Turkish data protection authority.

Read more about Shell data privacy rules in our Annual Report and at

Cyber security

Shell is subjected to frequent cyber attacks. We continually measure and improve our cyber-security capabilities to reduce the likelihood of successful breaches. Our employees and contract staff receive regular mandatory training to protect our IT systems from threats.

Read more about information technology and cyber security in our 2022 Annual Report.