IUCN-Shell: secondments

IUCN and Shell have been participating in exchanges of seconded personnel since 2001. Usually for a period of 2-3 years, the secondments allow Shell and IUCN staff to bring specific conservation and business expertise to each other's organizations.

IUCN secondments to Shell


Mikkel Kallesoe

2011-2013: Mikkel Kallesoe

During his 2-year secondment, Mikkel Kallesoe is helping Shell to look at new ways to manage ecosystem impacts and dependence.

Mikkel has joined Shell's Sensitive Areas team in Upstream International.  One of his first tasks will be to set up and lead an Ecosystems Services Working Group, which will help Shell evaluate the potential costs and benefits of integrating an ecosystems approach into project design as well as impact and risk assessment tools and methodologies.

The Ecosystem Services Task Force will review a range of available tools and approaches, seek to identify potential pilot projects, and look for practical ways to improve Shell’s ability to act holistically when it comes to managing impacts and dependencies from ecosystem services.

2008-2009: Virpi Stucki

The main focus of Virpi Stucki's secondment to Shell was to oversee an independent review of Shell's Biodiversity Action Plans.  

Completed in 2009, the independent review concluded that a BAP did not guarantee that an oil and gas industry project will not have  negative biodiversity impacts.  The value of a BAP is that it helps to focus additional emphasis on biodiversity hazards and effects in sensitive areas in a strcutured manner that can be communicated to stakeholders in a transparent way. 

Andrea Athanas

2001-2003: Andrea Athanas

Andrea Athanas' secondment from IUCN to Shell was the first time that IUCN had sent a staff member to the private sector. Her position at Shell had been established:

  • to develop guidance and tools on biodiversity
  • to provide advice to Shell operating companies on implementing the Group's expectations on biodiversity
  • to work with Shell's conservation partners to deliver agreed projects
  • to build a strong and lasting relationship between Shell and IUCN.

During her stay at Shell, Andrea addressed several critical issues including integrating biodiversity into EIA guidelines for the oil industry and establishing a principle on operating in sensitive environments. 

Shell secondments to IUCN

Deric Quaile

Deric Quaile


Deric Quaile's first secondment from Shell to IUCN mostly focused on assisting with the development and implementation of the IUCN Strategy for Private Sector Engagement and bringing a business perspective to the process.

Work focused initially on communicating the Strategy, for which the brochure “Greening the Bottom Line” was prepared.

Visits were undertaken to regional and country offices in order to establish their capacity and the specific needs of businesses in the regions. Work started in the Asia Region with focus on Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Thailand and Bangladesh. Additional missions were carried out to the Regional Office for Mesoamerica (ORMA), with a specific focus on Costa Rica and Guatemala, and to the Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA). General support was also provided to the  Regional Office for pan-Europe (RoFE) and the Eastern Africa Regional Office (EARO).

Work also extended to IUCN thematic programmes, e.g. support to the Global Forests Programme on the formulation of the business case for the Allanblackia project in Ghana with Unilever.


On returning to Shell, Deric was responsible for environmental management at the corporate level. He led the revision of Shell Group Environmental Standards and Manuals and was responsible for reporting and assurance of environmental performance in the Shell Businesses. He also worked on the establishment and launch of the IUCN-Shell collaborative partnership agreement, which forms the basis of the current work programme between the two organizations.

Deric’s new secondment at IUCN began in 2010. As Project Implementation Manager, he focuses on strengthening, expanding and leveraging the partnership portfolio of work to the mutual benefit of both Shell and IUCN. He is also assisting the Global Business and Biodiversity Programme in building capacity for engaging more effectively with the private sector on biodiversity issues, at both headquarters and Regional levels.

Saskia de Koning

2008-2010: Saskia de Koning

Saskia de Koning was seconded from Shell to IUCN to build the relationship between Shell and IUCN in three main ways:

  • Assist IUCN in improving its business skills through the transfer of appropriate skills from qualified Shell specialists
  • Assist IUCN in developing capacity to engage more effectively with business on biodiversity issues
  • Support Shell businesses in the identification of biodiversity risks to their business and provide help to address such risks through links to IUCN expertise and networks.