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The Arctic is rich in biodiversity and contains ecologically-sensitive areas. The health of plants and animals depend on the survival of their habitat. We work with scientists to better understand the Arctic’s ecosystems. We have policies in place to assess environmental risks and we closely monitor the impact of our activities.
Shell recognises the importance of conserving biodiversity, not only because it enriches the environment but also for the future of our business.
Working with others
We partner with non-governmental organisations, academia and experts, Arctic government representatives and industry bodies, which is essential to address concerns about our operations and to engage on wider environmental and social issues.
In a number of joint-industry study projects we are looking at environmental impact and how sound affects fish, turtles and sea mammals.
We are also working with a number of research and academic institutes, such as the University of Alaska, on environmental aspects of operating in the Arctic.
Our global partnerships with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Wetlands International includes research into the Arctic tundra and permafrost.
The Alaska experience
There are a large number of research projects taking place in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off Alaska. They include, for example, charting the migration routes of whales and other mammals, tagging walruses and establishing what lives on the sea bed. All of this helps us to understand more about the wildlife and possible behavioural changes that may occur in response to energy industry activities.
Our approach to polar bears and their habitat follows regulatory requirements, including reporting their presence and training staff in how to avoid them and how to deal with them. Whenever necessary, we temporarily shut down our operations in response to their presence.
Research is being carried out into how polar bears are responding to changes in their habitat as a result of climate change. We support some of this research by contributing to the US National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Polar Bear Conservation Fund.
Gaining a better understanding of the Arctic ecosystem
Shell combines traditional knowledge with scientific studies in finding out more about how plants and mammals in the Arctic depend on each other.