Royal Dutch Shell plc
Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies, operating in over 100 countries worldwide with headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands.
Shell and Earthwatch have worked together for nearly a decade. What started out as a small employee engagement programme has developed into a programme of work that supports Earthwatch's environmental research and learning programmes, and has direct business benefits to Shell. The multifaceted strategic collaboration comprises the following key elements:
Employee Learning and Engagement
As a key partner within Shell's Project Better World (PBW) initiative, Earthwatch provides a unique experiential learning opportunity for Shell employees on research projects around the world that have been selected for their relevance to Shell as a company with a worldwide environmental footprint. This personal and professional development experience increases their understanding of sustainable development issues in the context of Shell's operations and inspires employees to promote environmental initiatives at work. At the same time, it provides a valuable resource to Earthwatch's conservation agenda, employing the skills and time of Shell employees on important environmental research initiatives worldwide.
Supporting Research and Developing Capacity
Shell supports Earthwatch's research and learning programme Climate Change and Landscape in Borneo's Rainforest in the Sabah region of Malaysian Borneo, which will run until 2013. The research looks at maintaining rainforest ecosystem functions in the face of land use and climatic change; important for the global community, but also of business relevance for a global energy company with an extensive biofuels portfolio. The collaboration also helps Shell deliver on their biodiversity standard to "work with others to maintain ecosystems, respect the basic concept of protected areas, and seek partnerships to enable the Group to make a positive contribution towards the conservation of global biodiversity".
The core funding goes towards employing a number of research and support staff and to engage a number of Earthwatch teams on the project each year. The relationship also supports two local PhD candidates who will be working alongside Earthwatch Scientists as well as on their own independent projects.
Besides supporting research in Malaysia, the programme will engage local stakeholders and emerging scientists from the region in the research programme, enabling them to build their field research skills and regional networks through participation in the programme.
For more detailed information about the research see here.
Enhancing World Heritage
A recent development, funded by Shell, implemented by Earthwatch and run in collaboration with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, is the Business Skills for World Heritage programme. This capacity development programme is training the agencies responsible for managing the natural World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia. The agencies receive one year's worth of training and support in how to develop and implement business planning from experts from within Shell.
It is hoped that the programme will enhance effective management of the areas, which in itself will have indirect economic benefits to local communities, and will assist in the environmental sustainability of some of the most beautiful and threatened places on earth.
Read an Earthwatch account of life on the programme: The elephant in the (class)room.
For more information about Earthwatch's relationship with Shell please contact Simon Reid at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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