Respecting human rights
We focus on four areas where human rights are critical to how we work and where we see the highest risk for potential impact on human rights: communities, security, labour rights and supply chains.
Our approach applies to all our employees and contractors. It is informed by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the core conventions of the International Labour Organization and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Human rights due diligence is embedded into our existing processes and frameworks, such as the Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Social Performance Control Framework.
Approach to human rights
Commitment to human rights
Shell aims to keep staff and facilities safe while respecting the human rights and security of local communities. We carefully assess the security threats and risks to our operations. We work with governments and partners to safeguard assets and provide a secure working environment for employees and contractors. Shell only uses armed security in countries where the threats are most severe or if it is a requirement under local laws. Since their development in 2000, companies in Shell have actively implemented the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights that guide companies in assessing human rights risks when working with public and private security organisations.
We manage the impact we may have on people living near our operations in line with the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Our Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Social Performance Control Framework expects us to first avoid or, where this is not possible, minimise our impacts on people through project design. We work with local communities to jointly identify solutions and opportunities.
The Shell Supplier Principles outline what we expect from contractors and suppliers in areas such as human rights. This includes ensuring no use of forced, prison or compulsory labour; no payment of recruitment fees by workers; regulations on freedom of association and collective bargaining; a safe, secure and healthy workplace; and the provision of wages and benefits that meet or exceed the national legal standards. We will develop and strengthen relationships with contractors and suppliers that are committed to the principles found on shell.com or to similar standards through their own activities and the management of their own suppliers and subcontractors. Contractors and suppliers should provide workers with a dedicated whistleblowing mechanism where grievances related to the above topics can be logged confidentially.
We respect our employees’ and contractors’ rights by working in line with the International Labour Organization's core conventions and the UN Global Compact. Labour rights include freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, non-discrimination and equal opportunity, conditions of work, adequate remuneration and freedom from forced labour and child labour.
Access to remedy
Reviewing our progress
In 2019, we continued to take steps to seek to improve our approach to human rights. This included carrying out an internal assurance review of the processes and systems in our four focus areas. We also assessed our performance in human rights, and employee and contractor welfare in nine countries. We have made good progress overall, particularly in senior management oversight and reporting. However, the review identified improvement opportunities in the areas of community feedback mechanisms, labour rights assessment, training and worker welfare.
In 2019, we focused on:
- assessing our community feedback mechanism against the access to remedy criteria of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and implementing improvements (see Social performance data);
- strengthening our supply chain labour rights assessment through an initiative with BP, Equinor and Total that aims to create an industry standard approach to make it easier and more efficient for suppliers to demonstrate how they respect human rights (see Supply chain);
- updating our human rights training, for employees and contractors, which we expect to roll out in 2020, improving relevant sections of the Shell website; and
- working with our supply chain contractors to ensure our worker welfare principles are adopted at major construction and production sites (see Supply chain).