Shell Nederland Pensioenfonds Stichting (SNPS) administers the pension entitlements of current and former employees who joined Shell Netherlands on or after 1 July 2013. SNPS wants all stakeholders in the fund to feel that their interests are being represented. Wherever possible, SNPS strives to ensure that the composition of the Board and the Accountability Council reflect the current participant base.
Basic principles of the SNPS Diversity Policy
Diversity within SNPS bodies and committees is promoted on the basis of the realisation that this will broaden the horizons of the single-tier Board and the Accountability Council and, by doing this, improve management (including internal supervision) and accountability. Diversity promotes creativity and innovation and prevents tunnel vision, because of which diversity policy is a key component of efforts to achieve the best possible composition of SNPS bodies and committees.
With this in mind, diversity is one of the factors taken into consideration - besides the expertise, competence and professional conduct envisaged - as regards the composition of and succession to the SNPS Board, Accountability Council and Board of Supervisors, as described in the Pension Fund Code of Governance.
When contemplating the composition of and succession to the Board and the Accountability Council, efforts are made to ensure that:
- diverse skills, cultures and views are represented and that the members of the Board and Accountability Council reasonably reflect the composition of SNPS stakeholders;
- a balanced distribution of individuals from different businesses and locations is achieved.
- a good balance is achieved between participants in the gross pension scheme and Board members who are (only) participants in the net pension scheme.
- a good mix of males and females is achieved.
- there are a minimum of two female Board members.
- there is a minimum of one member under the age of 40 and a minimum of one over the age of 40.
The SNPS pension fund is a relatively new fund (having been launched on 1 July 2013), because of which there are just a limited number of pension beneficiaries at the current time. Despite this fact, the Board is keen to ensure the involvement of this group.
N.B. SNPS has created scope in its constitution for the representatives of pension beneficiaries. However, while pension beneficiaries represent less than 10% of the number of participants and pension beneficiaries combined, they will not be represented by Board members. The same applies in respect of the Accountability Council.
Another dimension of diversity is ‘complementarity’. This can be defined as a situation in which people complement each other based on the diversity of skills and expertise they bring to the table. Complementarity paves the way for a more all-inclusive approach to management (including effective internal supervision) and accountability.
The diversity requirements above have been included in the profiles developed for prospective members of the Board; the same competency vision applies for the Accountability Council. The Board assesses candidates for membership of SNPS bodies and committees based on diversity objectives amongst other things.
Current diversity within SNPS bodies and committees
Today - in mid 2020 - one of the seven SNPS Board members is female. Three non-executive board members are under the age of 40. The non-executive board members in active employment at Shell work in different organisational units (businesses and functions).
The SNPS Accountability Council has six members, one of whom is female. Two members are under the age of 40. The experience and backgrounds of Accountability Council members - whether inside Shell or elsewhere - are very diverse too.
The Board believes that a good level of diversity has been achieved in both the Board and Accountability Council in terms of age and gender at the current time. Having said this, it realises that this subject will remain on the agenda of the Board in the years ahead. Ultimately, the Board also wants to ensure that the majority of members of the Board and the Accountability Council are participants of the SNPS gross scheme at the very least; this has been taken into consideration in succession planning. When vacancies arise in the Board or Accountability Council, Shell Netherlands and the Central Employee Council for Shell in the Netherlands (COR) are asked to specifically bear in mind the diversity standards set out in the Pension Fund Code of Governance when nominating candidates. The basic idea is for SNPS to meet these diversity standards at the very least.
Evaluation of diversity policy at SNPS
The SNPS annual report includes information about the age and gender composition of the Board and Accountability Council and also about efforts made to promote diversity in these bodies. The Board adopted a concrete step-by-step diversity plan in this respect in 2019. It sets out how the Board considers the promotion of diversity in the composition of fund bodies and takes steps to promote this diversity, particularly where age is concerned.
Each year, the Board assesses the extent to which the objectives set have been met and whether the resources available to do this were effective. The Board evaluates its longer-term diversity policy three times a year.
Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) at Shell
SNPS diversity policy reflects the Shell Group Diversity and Inclusion (pdf) (D&I) policy, a permanent process that focuses on doing justice to diversity among people and giving them space in the work they do. It removes obstacles, by doing which individual employees are able to make a real contribution to Shell, regardless of the differences between them and others.
'Diversity' can be defined as all of the ways in which people are different to each other. These include visible differences like age, gender, ethnicity and physical condition but also invisible differences like beliefs, religion, nationality, life experience and sexual orientation. With this in mind, a number of different networks are active within Shell, including the Shell Women’s Network, Young Shell, the Shell Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Network, the Shell enAble Network for employees with sensory impairments, the Shell Middle East and North Africa Network and the Shell Asia-Pacific Network.
'Inclusion' can be defined as a working environment in which differences between people are valued, in which everyone is able to be themselves while also conforming to Shell norms, values and principles and in which people are given the opportunity to develop their skills and talents. Inclusion helps make the organisation one in which people are committed to each other and to the company as well. This motivates (committed) employees and creates economic added value too.
The annual Shell People Survey contains a number of questions about D&I; taken together, they form the D&I Index. The questions are designed to establish whether the working environment is one in which different values and perspectives are valued and also whether it is free from discrimination and denigration. There has been a visible improvement in all of these points in recent years.