The purpose of this chapter is to situate the Nigerian case
study on a broader range of environmental and social controversies that Shell
has faced in recent decades. It discusses the emergence of a CSR agenda at
Shell in the context of debates on environmental regulation and the emergence
of environmentalism and the environmental justice movement over the last three
decades. The chapter briefly reviews some of the major incidents and resource
conflicts that have involved Shell and triggered widespread protests against
Shell that have involved so much negative publicity against the company in
Western and developing countries, particularly in Nigeria . He argues that, as
a direct result of recurring incidents in society, Shell responded with an
ambitious CSR program that aimed to restore its credibility and legitimacy to
local and global players. However, he refused to take his responsibilities in
some cases, particularly in the case of the Niger Delta.
The context of the
emergence of corporate environmentalism
Several factors have played a role in the emergence of CSR,
as social and corporate relationships have evolved to encompass a broad range
of social responsibilities in addition to the legal and economic
responsibilities of a business enterprise. These factors include the growing
power of business, the negative impacts of business activities, the process of
globalization and regulatory pressures. However, by mobilizing and concentrating
public pressure on industry and individual firms, the different dominant views
have played a key role in forcing the industry to accept the CSR program. The
following sections describe two key movements and highlight their link with the
emergence of CSR in its modern form.
Shell scandals and
the rise of environmentalism in Shell.
There have been successions of major incidents involving
Shell that have gradually eroded the company’s reputation and led to widespread
protests from civil society around the world, and to new forms of cooperation
between civil societies. Developed and developing countries that most top
threatened is the reputation and legitimacy of the company. This is a brief
discussion of the Shell scandal in the Niger Delta and the emergence of the
Shell also has a diamond refinery located in
Louisiana, on the banks of the Mississippi River. The community is exposed to a
high risk of exposure to toxic gases due to pollution and is frequently the
victim of recurrent explosions. The first explosion took place in 1973 and
claimed the lives of two Diamond residents.Another large explosion occurred on
May 5, 1988, leaving six dead and 42 injured (Lemer, 2005). The blast broke
windows up to 30 miles away and was damaged in Mississippi. After the incident,
about 159 million pounds of toxic chemicals were thrown into the air, requiring
the evacuation of 4,500 people. Diamond residents faced recurring emergencies
that forced them to evacuate their homes eight times in 12 years. Later, Shell
was forced to pay $ 172 million to 17,000 plaintiffs (Ibid.).
In the 1990s Shell faced a full-scale
environmental protest concerning the disposal of its Brent Spa, an oil storage
and tanker loading buoy in the Brent oilfield, operated by Shell UK in the
North Sea.. Although the drilling equipment was in the UK, and the result was
an internal problem from the UK point of view, it was internationalized, with
the participation of the environmental campaign, like Greenpeace organizations
and quickly has become a symbol of cross-border importance, even though it was located
in United Kingdom waters and subject to clearly defined national regulations
(Anderson, 1997). Greenpeace activists in the field of prevention of deep water
immersion. Brent Spar has lost proportions and implications, involving a
variety of social actors. Although Greenpeace never called for a boycott of
Shell’s gas stations. Greenpeace activists occupy Brent Spar for more than
three weeks. Shell’s disposal plans have been legally sanctioned by the British
government (Nutt, 2000). Brent Spar at sea, facing public and political
opposition in northern Europe (including some physical attacks and arson at a
service station in Germany). Shell companies have been the subject of intense
public criticism, mainly in northern continental Europe. Many politicians and
ministers were openly hostile and many called for boycotts of consumption.
There has been violence against Shell’s service stations, with threats to Shell
staff. The power of public policy is the single most important factor facing
corporate social responsibility, the growing power of global stakeholders and
their ability to undermine corporate operations. It is a change of symbolic
importance in corporate and social relations.
In the early 1990s, Ken Saro-Wiwa, president of
the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), conducted a
non-violent campaign against the environmental damage associated with the
operations of multinational oil companies, including Shell and British
Petroleum, in Ogoni lands of the Niger Delta. In January 1993, MSPO organized
peaceful marches of around 300,000 Ogoni 144 – more than half of the Ogoni
population – through four Ogoni centres, drawing international attention to the
plight of their people. That same year, Shell stopped operating in the Ogoni
region. Shell’s participation in Nigeria dates back to October 1990, when a
peaceful demonstration in Umeuchem intensified. Eighty people were killed by
the police and 495 houses were destroyed. Shell says he simply asked for police
protection. In 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others were executed. Ken SaroWiwa
had implicated Shell during his “treason” trial and the company was accused of
providing money and supplies to the Nigerian military. When SaroWiwa was
executed, part of the global condemnation of the law was directed at Shell. In
February 2002, a United States district judge ruled that a case filed against
Royal Dutch Shell by relatives of Ken Saro-Wiwa could be brought before the
Southern District Court of New York under the Foreign Tort Claims Act, torture.
Law of Protection of Victims and RICO Law (Organizations Influenced and
Corrupted by Racketeers). Shell continued to be condemned by organizations such
as Christian Aid, said that despite Shell’s allegations of honesty, integrity
and respect for people, he had not used his considerable interest in Nigeria to
bring changes in the Niger Delta. The report also found evidence of failures in
the clean-up of oil spills, contamination of rivers and streams, and the
failure to carry out promised community improvement projects.
Shell does not
recognize it role in the Niger Delta despite its so called CRS practice.
The term corporate social responsibility (CSR) has acquired
a new orientation and notoriety since the 1980s. What is remarkable is that it
has gone beyond local or national levels and has become the focus of attention.
world In the context of developing countries, it is now part of broader debates
on development and poverty reduction, particularly with regard to the lack of
governance in many areas. The issue has been particularly controversial with
respect to the behaviour of multinational companies that extract oil and gas.
Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) and its operations in the Niger
Delta have been honoured. Environmental degradation, ongoing violence and
persistent poverty in delta communities have been the subject of increasing
scrutiny in relation to SPDC activities in the region.
Despite a significant increase in SPDC development projects
in the region, academics and civil society actors say that very little tangible
progress has been made (Frynas, 2005: 588). This paper seeks to examine what
are the main obstacles to SPDC’s CSR efforts. After a brief overview of Shell’s
history in the Niger Delta, this reflection will present three key factors:
The complex nature of conflicts and other social
problems in the Delta goes beyond the scope of CSR activities to be addressed.
The organizational structure and culture of the
SPDC has hindered the adoption of CSR activities that best meet development
Despite the progress made since the adoption of
CSR practices, SPDC’s persistent refusal to recognize its role in the situation
in the delta undermines its commitment to CSR.
As we have seen in previous chapters, violence, poverty and
environmental destruction in the Niger Delta are the result of a complex story
in which Shell’s oil extraction has itself played a role. an important role.
The extensive damage to small-scale fisheries and agriculture that destroyed
livelihoods in the delta is the result of SPDC activities. In addition, the
SPDC has certainly contributed to increasing militarism in the region, not only
by generating social grievances, but also by directly supporting and paying
community groups to militarize in the hope of protecting the company’s
infrastructure ( Asgill, 2012: 25). In spite of this, the SPDC addresses issues
such as environmental destruction and poverty as a pre-existing unfortunate
situation that has no causal link with the company’s activities. This denial of
accountability plays an important role in contributing to a deep (and
historically informed) mistrust of Shell in the Delta communities.
In addition to undermining trust, seen as a valuable (if not
crucial) tool for meaningful CSR, this rejection of responsibility shifts to
SPDC rhetoric and practice. For example, Shell focuses on crime and oil theft
as a cause of environmental destruction (Shell: 2013). This is despite the fact
that many people argue that oil companies are often aware of and even complicit
in these activities and, at least, have contributed to the conditions in which
crime thrives (Asgill, 2012: 25). In addition to these concerns, it appears
that the long-term effects of the SPDC in the Niger Delta (economically or
socially) are never taken into account by its CSR activities. On the contrary,
it focuses on specific community-based initiatives that largely divert
attention away from the macroeconomic dynamics at stake (Frynas, 2005: 596).
Therefore, it is clear that the SPDC’s refusal to recognize its role and
responsibilities for the situation in the Niger Delta is a significant obstacle
to its CSR policies.