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The Shell General Business Principles are founded on our shared core values of honesty, integrity and respect. The principles include our commitments to fair competition, business integrity and compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Our Code of Conduct provides further guidance to staff and contractors, and we deliver related training. We encourage our people and others to report concerns and do not tolerate retaliation in any form. We take appropriate action if our principles are violated.
Business integrity, including a clear anti-bribery commitment, has been an integral part of the Shell General Business Principles for many years. We do not tolerate the direct or indirect offer, payment, soliciting or acceptance of bribes in any form. Facilitation payments are also prohibited. More information on measures taken to prevent and detect corruption is provided on the Anti-corruption page.
We aim to do business fairly, ethically and in accordance with applicable laws. Our commitments to fair competition and compliance with laws include the prohibition of practices such as price-fixing and market sharing. We provide training to raise awareness and help employees follow competition and antitrust laws.
In addition, staff are provided with instructions and guidance on how to comply with the law, protecting themselves and Shell from anti-competitive practices. We report publicly where we have been found guilty by any Competition Authority of having violated competition law and take action to deal with each situation in a way which ensures that Shell’s ethical values are maintained.
Similarly, our global international trade compliance programme affirms Shell’s commitment to trade compliance, including export controls and trade sanctions. In addition to relevant training, the programme provides staff and contractors tools and resources to comply with applicable trade regulations.
Ethics & Compliance at Shell
Through our Group-wide Ethics & Compliance programme and under the direction of our Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, we work to sustain a culture in which behaviours and decisions at all levels are fully aligned with Shell’s core values and business principles. The Shell Ethics & Compliance Office is responsible for the design, support and monitoring of the programme.
Specialist legal counsel monitor external legal and regulatory developments and provide legal advice. Shell Businesses and Functions implement required policies, standards and procedures and embed requirements in day-to-day processes, with support from Ethics & Compliance officers and managers who also monitor and report on programme health.
Our leaders play an essential role, setting the right example through their own behaviour. They also lay out the clear expectation that all business plans and activities are undertaken in a responsible, safe and compliant manner. Internal messages from the CEO and other executives, along with other global and local communications, help to keep Ethics & Compliance topics live and relevant.
Our Shell-wide Code of Conduct helps staff put our Business Principles into practice. The code defines basic rules, standards and behaviours for Shell employees and directs them to available resources and support.
All staff are required to complete Code of Conduct awareness training. Further training is available on other compliance topics. Where appropriate these training courses are also assigned to specific staff on a mandatory basis.
We also expect that contractors and suppliers understand and meet Shell’s robust requirements. Our contracts with them include requirements for adherence to the Shell General Business Principles or equivalent, and that staff working on behalf of Shell behave in a manner that is consistent with the Shell Code of Conduct.
See Shell for suppliers for more information, including the Shell Supplier Principles and Shell Supplier Qualification System.
The Shell Global Helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be accessed through local telephone numbers or through the internet. It allows employees and business partners to seek advice and report concerns anonymously and in their own language, about potential incidents of bribery and fraud or other violations of our Code of Conduct and Business Principles. We also encourage reporting of concerns through internal channels, for example to line managers, human resources, legal or ethics & compliance staff.
In most cases, concerns or allegations are investigated by internal specialists. All Shell General Business Principles and Code of Conduct investigations, including those that require the use of external specialists, must be handled in a confidential and objective manner, in compliance with applicable laws and regulations and with the utmost regard to personal and business integrity. Shell maintains a stringent no retaliation policy to protect any person making a good faith allegation as well as any person participating in an investigation.
Shell’s Code of Conduct states clearly that violators may be subject to disciplinary action (including dismissal), legal proceedings and possibly imprisonment. We report a summary of all Helpline allegations and significant Code of Conduct violations to the Audit Committee of the Board of Royal Dutch Shell plc. In 2013, 181 violations of the Code of Conduct were reported and we ended our relationship with 63 employees and contractors.