Diversity policy

The diversity policy is a key component of efforts to achieve the best possible composition of SSPF bodies and committees. Shell Pension Fund Foundation (SSPF) administers the pension entitlements and pension rights of current and former Shell employees who joined Shell before 1 July 2013, and those of their surviving dependants. It is important for SSPF that all stakeholders in the fund feel that their interests are being represented.

Wherever possible, SSPF strives to ensure that the composition of the Board and the Accountability Council reflect the current participant base. The SSPF diversity policy reflects the Diversity en Inclusion (D&I) policy (pdf) of the Shell Group. The D&I policy is a permanent process that focuses on doing justice to diversity among people and on giving people space in their work. It removes obstacles so that every employee is able to make a real contribution to Shell, regardless of any differences between them and others.

Principles of the SSPF diversity policy
Diversity within SSPF bodies and committees is promoted on the basis of the realisation that this will broaden the horizons of the Board, the Accountability Council and the Board of Supervisors, and thereby improve management, accountability and internal supervision. Diversity promotes creativity and innovation and prevents tunnel vision. The diversity policy is therefore a key component of efforts to achieve the best possible composition of SSPF bodies and committees.

Diversity is one of the factors taken into consideration - alongside required expertise, competence and professional conduct - when contemplating the composition of and succession to the SSPF Board, the Accountability Council and the 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 the Accountability Council reasonably reflect the composition of SSPF stakeholders.
  • A balanced distribution of individuals from different businesses and locations is achieved.
  • A balanced distribution of individuals from different businesses, functions and locations is achieved.
  • A good mix of males and females is achieved.
  • There is a minimum of 1 member under the age of 40 and a minimum of 1 member over the age of 40.

When contemplating the composition of and succession to the Board of Supervisors, the following factors are taken into consideration: education, background, personality, gender and age. Another dimension of diversity is complementarity. This can be defined as a situation in which people complement each other on the basis of the diversity of skills and expertise they bring to the table. This paves the way for a more all-inclusive approach to management, accountability and internal supervision.

The diversity requirements specified above have been included in the profiles developed for prospective members of the Board and the Supervisory Board. The same competency vision applies for the Accountability Council. When assessing candidates nominated for SSPF bodies and committees, the Board includes the diversity objectives in its appraisal.

Current diversity in SSPF
As of June 2020, 2 of the 8 SSPF Board members are women. One Board member is below the age of 40. The 5 Board members in active employment at Shell all work in different organisational units (businesses and functions), including Joint Ventures, in the Netherlands and abroad. In addition, the Board members who are retired have diverse backgrounds within the company.

As of the middle of 2020, the SSPF Accountability Council consists of 3 women. The experience and background within Shell of the representatives of both the active participants and the pension beneficiaries is extremely diverse.

In the Supervisory Board, 1 of the 3 members is a woman, and she is also the Chairman. The Supervisory Board members all have different professional and social backgrounds.

In the opinion of the Board, a reasonable level of diversity has already been achieved in terms of age and gender, but diversity - particularly in terms of age - could be further enhanced in the coming years. This has been taken into consideration in succession planning. When vacancies arise in the Board or the Accountability Council, Shell 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 guiding principle is for SSPF to meet these diversity standards at the minimum.

Evaluation of SSPF diversity policy
Every 3 years the Board of the Pension Fund evaluates the diversity policy in the long term. The SSPF annual report specifies the age and gender composition of the Board and the Accountability Council and includes details of the efforts made to promote diversity in these bodies.

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) within Shell
The SSPF diversity policy reflects the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) policy of the Shell Group. The D&I policy is a permanent process that focuses on doing justice to diversity among people and on giving people space in their work. It removes obstacles so that every employee is able to make a real contribution to Shell, regardless of any differences between them and others.

Diversity can be defined as all of the ways in which people are different to one another. These include visible differences such as age, gender, ethnicity and physical condition, as well as invisible differences such as beliefs, religion, nationality, life experience and sexual orientation. With this in mind, a number of different networks are active within Shell in the Netherlands, including the Women’s Network, Young Shell, the Shell Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Network, the Shell enAble Network for employees with physical 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, where everyone is able to be themselves while also conforming to Shell norms, values and principles, and where 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. This is not only good for the motivation of committed employees but it also creates added value in economic terms.

The annual Shell People Survey contains a number of questions about D&I which, taken together, 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 whether it is free from discrimination and denigration. There has been a visible improvement in all of these points in recent years.

See the appendix for the Shell Group’s current D&I policy (pdf).