Shell releases sustainability report, says it spent $193 million on 'social investments'


Royal Dutch Shell spent nearly $193 million worldwide last year on voluntary social investments, including hundreds of thousands spent in Beaver County.

The company released that figure in an annual report Wednesday that tracks Shell’s progress in enacting sustainable principles across its vast portfolio.

Called simply the Shell Sustainability Report, the in-depth document tracked the multinational corporation’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and other climate change contributors.

Of the $193 million spent by Shell last year on social programs, at least $58 million was concentrated on “boosting local skills and enterprise and (science-related) STEM education.”

Shell in December donated $150,000 to the Community College of Beaver County to help fund scholarships there. The money will also be used to buy new educational equipment at the college.

In addition, the company last year gave $25,000 to local school districts to be used for science-related programs.

Shell also donated toys and clothes to the Rochester Salvation Army just before Christmas last year. It was estimated that Shell’s donation would help 100 local families.

Shell spokesman Joe Minnitte said Wednesday the company strives to be “a good corporate neighbor and partner with local organizations” while promoting safety, education, community and the environment.

“In addition to volunteer hours, Shell has made considerable donations in Beaver County, some of which include providing funding for a STEM lab at a local middle school, providing radios to enhance communication and response for local fire departments, and assisting an environmental cleanup effort being done on the Connoquenessing Creek,” he said.

In addition to touching on many aspects of sustainability, the report also addressed how Shell is approaching climate change. The company said it is “working hard” to reduce natural gas flaring at its facilities across the world.

While the $6 billion ethane cracker plant being built in Potter Township won’t be operational until at least 2020, the facility here will have flaring capabilities once the plant is started.

“Shell’s policy is to reduce any routine flaring or venting of associated gas at our operations to a level as low as technically and financially feasible,” the report said. “We also aim to minimize operational flaring required for safety reasons such as during the startup of a new facility.”

The company acknowledged that flaring “wastes valuable resources and contributes to climate change” but also admitted that natural gas produced about half the greenhouse gas emissions of coal when burned to generate electricity.

In addition to flaring, Shell’s sustainability report noted that the company converted its hydraulic fracturing process in Pennsylvania last year.

Instead of using diesel fuel for power, Shell converted its fracking operations to electric power.

“This significantly cut our air emissions and saw a reduction in noise and water use -- all while saving costs and improving efficiency and reliability,” the report said.

Finally, Shell said it is exploring ways “to deploy solar technologies which lower the carbon intensity of our operations” worldwide.

Shell’s sustainability report will be reviewed and analyzed by a six-member external committee comprising professionals from various backgrounds.