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Shell and biodiversity
Protecting biodiversity is an important factor when we consider any new major project or large expansion to existing operations. Our approach to biodiversity is an integrated part of the way we operate. It builds on the industry-first standard we set in 2001 and now incorporate in our biodiversity manual.
We consider biodiversity early in new projects, develop biodiversity action plans, and collaborate with biodiversity experts to help protect areas with rich and delicate eco-systems.
Why does Shell care about biodiversity?
The growing human population using more resources is leading to an unprecedented decline in animal and plant species – for example, more than 20,000 plants and animal species were officially listed as “threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened species in 2012. Twenty percent of tropical forests and 50% of global wetlands have been destroyed in the past 50 years.
Governments urgently need to find the right balance between development and nature conservation, according to the 2005 Millennium Eco-system Assessment. The spread of housing and farming is the biggest problem, but producing energy plays a role – from searching for oil and gas in sensitive areas to the extra land needed for energy infrastructure and increasingly for energy crops for biofuels.
Helping to protect biodiversity makes business sense for Shell. We must meet legal and regulatory requirements. But it also reduces our operational and financial risk by ensuring we get our projects right. It helps to build trust with regulators and third parties so our projects can win approval and acceptance, it can make us the first choice for business partners, and can attract and motivate staff.
Addressing issues early on
Assessing biodiversity is part of the impact assessments we perform for any new major project or large expansions to existing operations. This can influence decisions and project design.
If an area is rich in biodiversity we engage with the local communities and experts and develop biodiversity action plans. These plans help us to set targets, define specific actions and monitor progress to ensure our biodiversity objectives are met.
This report was published with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It describes the benefits of biodiversity conservation for business and ways to increase investment in it.