Our core values of honesty, integrity and respect for people – first laid out in the Shell General Business Principles more than 40 years ago – underpin our approach to sustainability. A commitment to contribute to sustainable development was added in 1997.

These principles, together with our Code of Conduct, apply to the way we do business and to our conduct with the communities where we operate.

Since 1997, we have worked to embed this commitment in our strategy, our business processes and decision-making.

Our approach

Sustainability is integrated across our business on three levels:

  • In operations by running a safe, efficient, responsible and profitable business

    Running a safe, efficient, responsible and profitable business

    This is the foundation of our approach. We strive to produce and deliver energy responsibly – in a way that respects people, their safety and their environment. At the simplest level, this means doing no harm. We apply global standards to manage safety, the environment and how we engage with communities and we work to continuously improve our performance.

  • Sustainable energy future option

    Helping to shape a more sustainable energy future

    Shell is a willing and able player in the energy transition. We see commercial opportunity in participating in the global drive to provide more and cleaner energy solutions. We aim to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, or sooner, in step with society. We will seek to achieve this overall ambition in three ways. First, we aim to be net zero on all the emissions from the manufacture of all our products, by 2050 or sooner. Second, we aim to reduce the carbon intensity, or Net Carbon Footprint, of the energy products we sell by 65% by 2050. And third, we aim to help our customers decarbonise. But Shell’s business plans today will not get us to where we want to be. That means our business plans have to change over time as society and our customers also change. Read more about this ambition here.

  • Making a positive Contribution

    Making a positive contribution to society

    We aim to play a positive role in communities where we operate and in wider society. We contribute to the development of local economies by creating jobs, boosting skills, sourcing from local suppliers, as well as paying taxes and royalties. We support community projects that are based on the needs of local people. Our ambition is to provide a reliable electricity supply to 100 million people, primarily in Africa and Asia, by 2030.

Support for International Agreements

We welcome the United Nation's (UN) sustainable development goals, which seek to tackle the world's economic, social and environmental challenges by 2030. We aim to play our part in helping governments and society to achieve them. Read more about our contribution.

We aim to respect human rights as set out in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization's core conventions. We are a founding member of the UN Global Compact and we also support a number of external voluntary codes that promote responsible business practices.

We fully support the Paris Agreement’s goal to keep the rise in global average temperature this century to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Online Sustainability Report 2019

Find out more about our approach to sustainability and 2019 performance data.

View the report online

More in Sustainability

Commitments, policies and standards

Our comprehensive set of codes, policies and assurance processes define how we aim to operate in socially and environmentally responsible ways.

Environmental and social partners

Shell works with environmental and developmental organisations all over the world. This helps us to reduce our environmental and societal impact, to improve the quality of land and water around our operations and to benefit local communities.

you may also be interested in

What is Shell's Net Carbon Footprint ambition?

Shell is a big company that supplies around 3% of the energy the world uses. We want to play our part and contribute to the global effort to tackle climate change and meet the goal of the Paris Agreement. Working towards our Net Carbon Footprint ambition is how we plan to do this.

Building an energy access business

Around two billion people live without access to reliable electricity. Nearly a billion of them have no access to electricity at all. Shell’s energy access business is focused on helping to tackle energy poverty.

Our Values

At Shell, we share a set of core values – honesty, integrity and respect for people – which underpin all the work we do. The Shell General Business Principles, Code of Conduct, and Ethics and Compliance Manual help everyone at Shell act in line with these values and comply with relevant laws and regulations.