Royal Dutch Shell: An Investigation Into the Company's Social Performance in Regards to the Environment

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1744 Words
Date:  2022-07-25


Through its creative business innovations and the pursuance of the new challenges, Royal Dutch Shell has grown to be one of the biggest oil and gas corporations in the world ("Royal Dutch Shell Profile, History, Founder, Founded, Ceo | Manufacturing Companies | Success story" 2018). This has been made possible by the employee's dedication and the support from different stakeholders. The company focuses on developing and strengthening its position as the leading energy company. Royal Dutch Shell is a global brand, and its primary objective is to maximize the profit which is sometimes diminished due to social responsibilities. The guarantees the company's continuity provided that the company makes the ethical practices to their stakeholders. The main stakeholders in this paper are the local communities where the company branches are located, the non-governmental organizations like for instance amnesty international and the employees of this company. The process of oil and gas extraction contributes several hazardous effects to the environment. These effects include; the impact of the large area of the sea the land and the seabed (Norwegian Environmental agencies 2016). Due to stakeholders raise in concern, the company has now introduced new policies and strategies to reduce the environmental impact arising from the plant.

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The Case Against the Royal Dutch Shell Company

There was a report that was published in May 2016 in an article called "Shell Oil Spill Dumps Thousands of Barrels of Crude into the Gulf Of Mexico". The article reported that there was 2100 barrel oil spill the United States. The Gulf of Mexico had then forced Royal Dutch Company to shut all the wells that were in its platform. The spill greatly affected the sea 2 miles by 13 mile which was clearly visible from a distance ("Shell Spills nearly 90,000 Gallons of Oil into the Gulf of Mexico" 2016). This was also confirmed by the spokesman, who reported that the well which had leakage had been identified, isolated and controlled. According to the report the authorities claimed that the incident was still under control ("Shell Spills nearly 90,000 Gallons of Oil into Gulf of Mexico" 2016). Although no injuries were reported in that particular incident, there was a direct effect to the environment, especially water pollution and endangering the marine lives by the toxic substances from the oil spill. According to the scientist, oil effect/destroys the insulating ability of the fur-bearing mammals, like for instance, it affects the insulating ability for sea otters, and also oil spill can cause the repellency of birds feathers and thus this creatures will be exposed to harsh elements. This may result in the death of these mammals and the birds due to hypothermia ("How Does Oil Impact Marine Life?" 2017). Many mammals and birds also poison themselves when for instance they are trying to clean up in the water not understanding that they are investing in the spill. Oil spill also affects fish and the shellfish. When adult fish are exposed to oil they may develop or experience reduced growth change in respiratory and heart rates, enlargement livers and finally the reproduction impairment. Oil also has been studied to be having an adverse effect on the larval and eggs survival.

There is also the environmental and social effect of shell cooperation in Nigeria. For more than six decades, which is between 1957 to date, Royal Dutch Company has been the leading oil and gas company in Nigeria. This is in terms of, operation and production, SPDC (Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria) and operating in Nigeria subsidiary ("The Environmental and Social Impact of Shell's Operations in Nigeria | Per La Pau / Peace In Progress | Issue 18 - November 2013" 2018). Shell organization has gone through a lot in Nigeria since 1958 when it first stepped its foot there and started its operations in Nigeria. The company has gone through various environmental disaster huddles which have directly and indirectly affected the Nigerian environment and its ecology. The oil spill in various places in the country especially along the off shows and in the delta region where exploration has been taking place have led to soil contamination and the introduction of toxic substances in the soil hence causing soil pollution. The spill has also led to a significant amount of water pollution in the country (Pigrau 2013).

The company has been involved in the large-scale oil extraction across the Niger Delta for quite a long period. This has therefore led the company to be under criticism by many non-governmental organizations the latest being the Amnesty international. The recent analysis by Amnesty concludes that this company was responsible for over 550 oil spill within only one year. These figures are really disturbing as it directly implies that the environment and its ecosystem are adversely affected across the Niger Delta. According to the company's report, 1.3 million gallons (5 million liters) spilled during that period of time. This is just an approximation of the company's report, but there is a possibility that the figure can even be higher than the reported because many companies do not give their exact on situations like these. These spills are usually caused by; corrosion, accident and the poor maintenance. This place or location sometimes is affected by sabotage this is because oil is a precious commodity ( 2018).

Case for Royal Dutch Shell

Although their reputation had already been tarnished with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Royal Dutch Shell was also determined to ensure that they abide with all the environmental measures precautions so as to avoid the repeat of the same disaster. The company noted that they will not relent in their quest for deep sea oil extraction in Alaska due to the high demand of this commodity (Mason 2010). Chief executive officer Peter Voser promised that they will not continue drilling in Alaska if they couldn't do so safely and responsibly. This means that the company management was ready to observe all the corrective measure to avoid the environmental mitigations they which once affected them. The government has imposed more regulations to help guide the process of off show oil and gas extraction. The regulations were formulated so that they can help increase safety management precautions in companies such as Royal Dutch Shell who mostly perform their extractions in the deep seas. The mineral management service has been split into the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the officers of natural recourses and the Bureau of safety and environmental enforcement. This was done so that every arm can focus on the different task. Meaning that they had to separate safety from revenue and both from leasing issue. Before we use to have only one federal agency that was dealing with all these issues hence it was difficult to manage all the issue at ago (Muskal 2015).

Royal Dutch Shell Launched its operation of cleaning up the world most oil-polluted region in Nigeria (Vidal 2018). The company had been blamed for the mess and they took the social responsibility of cleaning the Niger Delta which will cost the company not less than $1billion to complete the process (Vidal 2018). The company appears to be determined to proceed with the operation of restoring the river states to its normal states after many years of the oil spill. Upon the completion of the project, the region will restore its original swamp, fishing ground, creeks and the mangrove after a long period of the oil spill by Shell, National oil firms, and other oil firms. The agreement signed consist of a sum of $200m that will be released yearly for five years to clear up the devastated 2600km squire region in River state in a place that nears Port Harcourt. It is encouraging that Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to take the social responsibility to perform the cleanup process even though they claim that the entire oil spill was brought about by sabotage and theft.


In the past, Royal Dutch Shell Company has undergone extreme pressure that came from social groups such as the amnesty international, the local communities and the government on their environmental sustainability. Royal Dutch Shell Company used to focus on maximizing the profit which was unethical practice but recently the company has changed its focus and environmental sustainability has been given higher priority. Royal Dutch Shell Company is committed to reducing the oil spill and other environmental implications that are caused in their process of oil extraction and handling. The mistakes that the company might have committed in the past are currently being overshadowed by the positive sustainable attitude driven by the company management. The company can now pride itself on the well-developed corporate social responsibility which has prioritized the sustainability of their manufacturing processes and the near to perfect oil spill control strategies. Although the company has put several measures to help reduce oil spill, I feel that they are still not doing their best in controlling the oil spill. The company should come up with high-tech technologies that will give intensive monitor to their systems and provide adequate security. The company should at least reduce the over-reliance of government regulations to guide them.


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"How Does Oil Impact Marine Life?". 2017. Oceanservice.Noaa.Gov.

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Mason, Rowena. 2010. "Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill Won't Stop Shell Drilling In Alaska". Telegraph.Co.Uk.

Muskal, Michael. 2015. "Los Angeles Times - We Are Currently Unavailable In Your Region". Latimes.Com.

Norwegian Environmental agencies. 2016. "Environmental Impacts Of Oil And Gas Activities". Environment.No.

Pigrau, Antoni. 2013. "The Environmental And Social Impact Of Shell's Operations In Nigeria | Per La Pau / Peace In Progress | Issue 18 - November 2013". Icip-Perlapau.Cat.

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Royal Dutch Shell: An Investigation Into the Company's Social Performance in Regards to the Environment. (2022, Jul 25). Retrieved from

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