We do this in many ways: by creating new jobs, encouraging local businesses to be a part of our supply chain, and providing useful skills training. Our projects can have an impact on neighbouring communities where we operate. Therefore, we work with subject matter experts (SMEs) to understand the effects that a project may have on land, livelihoods and culture. We also engage with communities to understand their priorities and concerns. We work to mitigate any possible negative consequences of a project, working alongside our technical and commercial teams.

See our latest Sustainability Report to see how we put Social Performance in action.

Community specialist areas

The first stage of project planning involves carrying out an impact assessment to understand the potential effects on local communities, including people’s health and the environment. Impact assessments are usually carried out by specialist external consultants, under the management of Shell’s experienced impact assessment practitioners.

At every review stage of the project we consider these impacts and decide whether and how best to move ahead. The assessment of these impacts may lead to the revision of project plans, such as rerouting pipelines or roads, changing plant layout or design, or re-scheduling construction activities to avoid disrupting seasonal community activities.

Shell has dedicated in-house specialists who are experienced in engaging with communities, including indigenous peoples, managing impacts related to resettlement and livelihoods, and identifying and managing impacts on cultural heritage. The specialists work with our project and technical teams to investigate opportunities to first avoid or, where this is not possible, to minimise impacts.

Read more about how we engage with communities

Engaging with communities

Young girl from India sitting on sand using a laptop

Respectful engagement with local communities is critical to the success of projects and long-term operations. We need to understand the priorities and address the concerns or grievances people may have.

It is important to us that people in communities are able to contact Shell, give feedback and receive a response or action from us. We have implemented “community feedback procedures” at major operations and projects to receive, track and respond to questions and complaints from community members before they can escalate.

In South Korea, for example, the local community was concerned about noise levels from the construction of the Prelude floating LNG plant. We responded by installing industrial silencers to reduce disturbance from the shipyard – Read more about this story.

We have also worked with IPIECA (the global oil and gas industry body for environmental and social issues) to include our experience in managing community feedback in publicly-available guidance documents and toolkits. This helps our industry to improve its management of community concerns.

Indigenous peoples

Peruvian woman with her baby on her back

Our operations in certain parts of the world affect indigenous peoples who hold specific rights for the protection of their cultures, traditional ways of life and special connections to lands and waters. In some countries, for example in Canada, Australia, Bolivia and Philippines, indigenous peoples hold specific rights recognised by law that protect their cultures and ways of life. In line with Shell’s General Business Principles, and in support of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, our approach is to continue seeking the support and agreement of indigenous peoples potentially affected by our projects. We do this through mutually agreed, transparent and culturally appropriate consultation and impact management processes. It requires open dialogue, good faith negotiations, and, where appropriate, the development of agreements that address the needs of indigenous peoples.

We recognise the principle of free, prior and informed consent, as interpreted by the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards, as a safeguard for indigenous peoples’ rights. We believe our approach is consistent with the application of this principle, while respecting the laws of the jurisdictions in which we operate.

Cultural heritage

Young lady looking out over city

Cultural heritage can be represented in tangible form, such as treasured artefacts, or as intangible attributes, like language or traditions. It may have great value for past, present and future generations. Our specialists work to preserve cultural heritage near our operations. 

For example, Shell is the operator of the Majnoon oil and gas field in Iraq. The field is the site of rich cultural heritage due to its proximity to an area considered the cradle of civilisation. In 2016, Shell – in consultation with the Ministry of Antiquities – identified two additional archaeological sites to the 10 previously identified. All sites are recorded in Shell’s geographic information system. In 2017, they will be formally registered with the Ministry of Antiquities and artefacts will be handed over to the Basra Museum.

Managing resettlement

Red poppies in a field of yellow flowers

Our operations sometimes require temporary or permanent access to areas of land or sea where people are living or working. We first try to avoid the need to resettle people, and where unavoidable, we work with local communities to help them relocate, maintain their standard of living or, if necessary, find new livelihoods. This is done through the development and implementation of “resettlement action plans” or “livelihood restoration plans”.

As part of our commitment to work with communities impacted by our operations, Shell restores land left behind once a project has been decommissioned. In the Sichuan province, southwest China, we worked to safely restore the area used for drilling wells. Read more about this story.

Aligning with best practice

When we work with local communities, we use international standards as our benchmark, including the International Finance Corporation’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards – as well as our own standards. We develop a social performance plan for all our major projects and assets, which includes a summary of our impact assessment findings.

Find out about Shell and impact assessments

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