Balancing stakeholder needs
A Shell case study

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Page 4: External stakeholders - interest groups

Shell needs to work with a range of interest groups. These are decision makers and opinion formers.

People and organisations in positions of influence make decisions and form opinions that can affect Shell. These include academics, government, media, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), business leaders and the financial community. They interact with Shell in different ways:

  • Governments - Shell has operations in many countries across all regions of the globe. To gain approval to operate in these countries it has shown the host governments that it is operating in the right way. This includes creating jobs, paying taxes and providing important energy supplies. Shell is also working with governments to promote the need for more effective regulation on CO2 emissions.
  • The business community - Shell supplies to and buys from hundreds of other businesses.
  • Other oil companies - Shell works in partnership on projects with other international oil companies and partners, such as government-owned oil companies in the countries in which it operates. Partnership activities have included building new oil or gas supply lines and new refineries.
  • The media - it is essential for competitive companies like Shell to continue to operate in ways that receive positive press coverage from newspapers, television and magazines. This reinforces its position in the market and can help to attract new customers through a positive reputation.
  • NGOs are a diverse group of organisations, organised on a local, national or international level and often around specific issues, such as environment, human rights or health.  They vary in their methods, ranginf from providing services and expertise to lobbying and campaigning organisations.  NGOs often seek to influence other actors, including major brands and big multinationals such as Shell.  Shell engages and works with a wide variety of NGOs on a regular basis.  For example, it works with and learns from more than 100 scientific and conservation organisations in 40 countries.  Partnerships with global organisations help Shell to improve its approach to the environment.  The 10-year relationship with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has led to changes in its operations that have reduced the environmental impact. 

Shell is committed to respecting human rights and helping communities. The search for oil and gas can take energy companies to places with poor human rights records. Shell uses a variety of tools, often developed with NGO and think-tank input, to manage risks. 

If Shell chooses not to operate in these areas, this opens the door for less principled competitors to exploit workers in these countries. If it stays then it can become part of the solution. Shell will only operate in countries where it is able to follow its business principles. These principles set out what Shell stands for and define its behaviour and are published on its website.

Shell | Balancing stakeholder needs