Case | HBS Case Collection | October 1999

Royal Dutch/Shell in Transition (A)

by Lynn S. Paine

Abstract

After the Brent Spar episode and the 1995 events in Nigeria, Shell undertakes an intensive review of its values and business principles. At the same time, it conducts the largest multi-stakeholder consultation in its history in an effort to better understand society's evolving expectations for companies like Shell. Based on its findings, the company launches an effort to change its culture and embed in the organization a revised set of business principles. The company is considering whether as part of the transformation effort to begin public reporting on its environmental and social as well as its financial performance. The issue is sharpened when Shell receives a challenge from a small group of shareholders in the form of an unusual (for a British company) shareholder resolution.

Keywords: Corporate Governance; Corporate Accountability; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Social Issues; Public Opinion; Moral Sensibility; Values and Beliefs; Transformation; Environmental Accounting; Energy Industry;

Citation:

Paine, Lynn S. "Royal Dutch/Shell in Transition (A)." Harvard Business School Case 300-039, October 1999.