The Shell General Business Principles govern the way we work at Shell. They reflect our three core values: honesty, integrity and respect for people.

The principles set out our responsibilities to shareholders, customers, employees, business partners and society. They include commitments to fair competition, business integrity and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

All Shell employees, contractors, and those working in joint ventures that we operate, are expected to understand and work in line with the principles. We encourage suppliers and our partners in joint ventures that we do not operate, to apply equivalent principles.

Our Code of Conduct

The Shell Code of Conduct explains how employees, contractors and anyone else acting on behalf of Shell must behave to live up to our business principles. The Code of Conduct is comprehensive, covering safety, anti-bribery and corruption, fair competition and other important areas.

Shell provides mandatory training and regularly reminds employees and contractors about the importance of both the business principles and the Code of Conduct. We also expect Shell’s contractors and suppliers to understand and meet our robust requirements.

Ethics and compliance

Leaders at all levels play an essential role, by being uncompromising with respect to safety, ethics and compliance, making it clear through their actions and expectations that all business plans and activities must be undertaken in a responsible, safe, ethical and compliant manner.

We have a group-wide Ethics and Compliance programme which focuses on embedding Shell’s core values and business principles into the culture at Shell. The programme is directed by Shell’s Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer who is supported by:

  • the Shell Ethics and Compliance Office, which is responsible for the design, support and monitoring of the programme; 
  • legal counsel who monitor external legal and regulatory developments and provides legal advice; and
  • Shell’s businesses, which implement the necessary policies, standards and procedures into daily work, supported by Ethics and Compliance representatives who also monitor the programme. 

The Shell Ethics and Compliance Manual demonstrates Shell’s commitment to Ethics and Compliance by defining requirements for businesses and functions to comply with laws on Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Anti-Money Laundering, Preventing the Facilitation of Tax Evasion, Antitrust, Data Privacy and Trade Compliance.

We provide guidance, advice and training to help employees understand their responsibilities and how to act ethically and in full accordance with the law.

We do not tolerate the direct or indirect offer, payment, solicitation or acceptance of bribes in any form. Facilitation payments are also prohibited. More information on measures taken to prevent and detect corruption is provided on our Transparency and Anti-corruption page

We aim to do business fairly, ethically and in accordance with applicable laws that promote and safeguard fair competition among businesses. Our commitments include the prohibition of practices such as price-fixing and market-sharing. We also publicly report where we have been found guilty by any competition authority of violating competition law and act in each situation to ensure that Shell’s ethical values are maintained.

In the same way, our global international trade compliance programme affirms Shell’s commitment to trade compliance, including export controls and trade sanctions. In addition to relevant training, the programme provides staff and contractors with tools and resources to comply with applicable trade regulations.

Reporting violations

We encourage our employees and contractors to share any concerns they may have that the Code is being breached, anonymously if they wish, and without fear of retaliation. The Shell Global Helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be accessed through local telephone numbers or the internet. It allows employees and business partners to seek advice and report concerns anonymously and in their own language, about potential misconduct. Their concerns are investigated by specialists; if we confirm that the Code of Conduct has been breached we take appropriate action, which could include dismissal or the termination of a contract. We report a summary of all Helpline allegations and significant Code of Conduct violations to the Audit Committee of the Board of Royal Dutch Shell plc.

In 2016, internal investigations confirmed that 341 allegations reported through the Global Helpline were Code of Conduct violations. As a result, we dismissed or terminated the contracts of 114 employees, contract staff or contractor employees. 

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Shell for suppliers

Building strong relationships with our contractors and suppliers is essential to delivering new projects and running our operations. In line with our Shell General Business Principles and Supplier principles, we seek to work with contractors and suppliers who contribute to sustainable development and are economically, environmentally and socially responsible.

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.