Respecting Nature is one of four goals within our Powering Progress strategy. It sets out our ambitions around biodiversity, water, circular economy and waste, and air quality. Our Respecting Nature commitments step up our approach to managing the impacts of our operations on the environment. They also aim to extend our approach with our supply chain, for example, with commitments around plastics and circular economy.
Why is Respecting Nature part of Shell’s strategy?
We recognise there is growing urgency to protect biodiversity, preserve water quality and availability, improve air quality, and use resources more efficiently. Nature loss and climate change are interconnected and need to be tackled together, as was noted in discussions at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) and the resulting Glasgow Climate Pact.
We welcome the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will continue to play our part in helping governments and societies to achieve them.
As a business, we rely on nature for resources such as land, water, and materials for our operations and also for the functions that nature provides such as protection from floods and storm damage. In addition, our activities can have an impact on nature through discharges and emissions to the environment, and through changes to use of land, water, and oceans.
We believe that taking a proactive approach will help to improve operational efficiencies, mitigate risks to our business and impacts to nature and build better relationship with communities and other stakeholders. In our customer facing businesses, it will also help to create new business models and collaborations.
What action is Shell taking to respect nature?
- We have set a target to become a net-zero emissions business by 2050. Achieving the goals of the UN Paris Agreement is vital for protecting nature as the changing climate threatens biodiversity and ecosystems. In turn this can reduce nature’s ability to take carbon out of the atmosphere, making it harder to tackle climate change.
- We have set ambitions and commitments as part of our Respecting Nature goal across four priority areas: biodiversity (land and marine), water, circular economy and waste and air quality. Find out more below.
- We invest in nature based solutions (NBS) projects which protect, transform and restore land. As well as being a vital part of the solution to tackle climate change, protecting and restoring natural ecosystems can help to improve biodiversity, water quality, flood protection and boost livelihoods for people in local communities. We support the responsible use of high-quality nature-based carbon credits and have set a commitment to also demonstrate net positive impact for biodiversity in our NBS projects (see our Biodiversity page)
Our Respecting Nature ambitions and commitments focus on four priority areas: biodiversity (land and marine environment), water, circular economy and waste, and air quality. They set out our ambitions for 2030 and later, as well as shorter-term goals.
They build on our long-standing approach to managing the impacts of our operations on the environment. They also aim to extend our approach with our supply chain, for example with commitments around plastics and circular economy.
Our commitments consider location-specific sensitivities, such as for our facilities located in areas of high water stress or new projects in areas rich in biodiversity.
We have evolved our approach from avoiding and minimising impacts to also seeking to make a positive contribution, for example, through an ambition to have a positive impact on biodiversity.
Click on a topic in the visual below to find out more.
How is Shell working with others?
Existing collaborations, new partnerships and engagement are key to implementing our Respecting Nature ambitions. We want to learn from others and be a catalyst for change by working across industry, governments, customers and our supply chains.
We have committed to ensuring that external partnerships inform key areas of development and delivery of our ambitions.
We engage with local communities and other stakeholders when planning new projects. We listen to concerns they might have as well as ideas so these can be addressed in the planning and design of our projects.
We participate in external collaborations, sector and industry associations, partnerships and voluntary codes which help inform our thinking on risks, opportunities and good practices. For example, for over twenty years, we have worked with our global environmental partners the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Earthwatch. They provided input to the development of our commitments and continue to support their implementation. We are developing an internal engagement programme for our staff, in collaboration with Earthwatch, to raise understanding of global environmental challenges and help delivery of our commitments. We are also working with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to develop our approach to circularity.
Respecting Nature includes commitments relating to our supply chain. We are identifying opportunities and developing plans to help us to deliver improvements.
Our reporting is informed by a number of voluntary standards and frameworks. We participate in a selection of Environmental, Social Governance (ESG) ratings most often used by our stakeholders. We have joined the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) Forum, which is looking to develop a risk management and disclosure framework for organisations to report and act on evolving nature-related risks.
Progress in 2021
Since the launch of Respecting Nature in February 2021, we have been working to embed our new commitments into our systems and processes.
Accountability for delivery of the Respecting Nature goal lies with our Executive Committee. We have restructured and resourced to add specialists on biodiversity and circularity into our organisation and are building capability with the help of external partners.
We have included our new commitments in our performance management and reporting systems and are defining the baselines for each of the commitments and setting 2022 targets across our businesses.
Protecting the environment has been an integral part of the way we do business for many years as set out in the Shell General Business Principles and Shell Commitment and Policy on Health, Security, Safety, Environment and Social Performance.
We carry out detailed environmental, social and health impact assessments when planning major projects to assess risks and opportunities early on and integrate into project delivery and operations.
Our global environmental standards (set in our HSSE & SP Control Framework) are designed to meet or exceed regulatory requirements. We draw on external standards and guidelines, such as those developed by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation.
We require our major installations to be certified to independent environmental management system standards, such as ISO 14001 or equivalent systems required by local regulations.
Our Shell Supplier Principles include an expectation that contractors and suppliers are committed to protect the environment.
Some operations also set their own specific requirements such as our Onshore Operating Principles for producing tight/shale oil and gas and our approach for sustainable sourcing of biocomponents in our biofuels business.
We also support a number of external voluntary codes that guide us to operate in a responsible way.
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