Oil spills in the Niger Delta
Lead NCPNetherlands
Supporting NCP(s)United Kingdom
DescriptionSpecific instance notified by three NGOs, Friends of the Earth International, Friends of the Earth Netherlands, and Amnesty International, regarding the activities of Royal Dutch Shell, a multinational enterprise operating in Nigeria.
Theme(s)Disclosure, Consumer interests, Environment
Date25 Jan 2011
Host country(ies)Nigeria
Industry sectorMining and quarrying

Read the final statement issued by the Dutch NCP concluding the specific instance - 21 March 2013

In January 2011, the Dutch NCP received a request for review from three NGOs, Friends of the Earth International, Friends of the Earth Netherlands, and Amnesty International, alleging that Royal Dutch Shell had breached the disclosure, environment, and consumer interests provisions of the Guidelines in Nigeria with respect to its communication on oil spills in the Niger Delta.

According to the NGOs, the company had provided misleading information and omitted relevant facts about the causes of oil spills. They claimed that Shell based its communications on biased and unverified information, thus failing to provide reliable and relevant details to external stakeholders. In addition, incorrect and conflicting messages about the causes of oil spills further contributed to the low quality of non-financial information.

The specific instance process was led by the Dutch NCP with the support of the UK NCP who has also been contacted by the NGOs. It was conducted as a dialogue between the parties involved, and although helpful discussions took place during the meetings, the parties did not reach an agreement. During those meetings, the issue of confidentially was discussed at length as Shell was asking a guarantee from the NGOs that these cases would not be part of a campaign or appear in a public domain. Friends of the Earth and Amnesty International could not guarantee such thing since campaigning is at the heart of their actions.

The NCP regretted that the parties could not find a solution to this dilemma, and in concluding the specific instance, it released a statement containing recommendations on due diligence in the supply chain and transparency.