IUCN and Shell: guiding the way

IUCN has had an influential impact on the way Shell views and manages conservation challenges across 90 countries. That was one of the messages to emerge from a recent meeting that took place between Shell and the IUCN Council (the organization's governing body). 

A marine turtle in the Red Sea, Egypt

While acknowledging the opposition by some to the IUCN-Shell partnership, Malcolm Brinded, Executive Director, Shell Upstream International, highlighted beneficial conservation outcomes from some of the 60 or so projects initiated under the collaboration.

Shell has been a partner with IUCN since 2007. The event held at IUCN’s headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, was organized to foster a better understanding of the IUCN-Shell partnership and provide a platform through which views could be exchanged.

The partnership with IUCN has led to the start of a North Sea decommissioning initiative and a project for a cross-sector strategic assessment of the Arctic region to eventually develop a regulation code, among other projects. Brinded said he hoped for IUCN’s cooperation in setting new biodiversity standards in the exploration of shale gas, which is seen by the industry as a revolutionary and important source of energy for the future. He said he appreciated IUCN’s convening power to engage with parties that Shell has not been able to bring to the table and said that IUCN was helping the company move ahead.

There were several questions from Council members expressing their concern and support for Shell’s operations. They wanted Shell to set standards from hydro-fracking to lending its weight to convince others to adopt a ‘no-go’ policy in World Heritage sites.

It is hoped that balanced and constructive criticism from the councillors about the Shell-IUCN partnership will ensure that the initiative stays on the right path.
For more information contact:
Dennis Hosack, Programme Officer, IUCN Business and Biodiversity Programme, dennis.hosack@iucn.org

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