The World Environment Day (WED), which takes place annually on June 5 is the biggest event to celebrate and promote environmental awareness and sustainability across the globe. Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972, WED aims to raise global awareness and mobilize humans to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth.
This global event has since become the principal vehicle through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness about the environment. It also gives a human perspective to environmental issues, empowers people to become active agents of sustainable development and advocates multi-stakeholder partnerships in support of the environment. From 1973, when the first WED was held, the event has always been marked with different campaign themes and discussions focusing on environmental stewardship.
The theme for WED 2018 is “Beat Plastic Pollution” and urges governments, industry, communities and individuals to come together in exploring sustainable alternatives to urgently reduce the production and excessive use of single-use plastic polluting oceans, damaging marine life and threatening human health. According to the United Nations Environment Program, every year the world uses 500 billion plastic bags; each year, at least 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans, the equivalent of a full garbage truck every minute. More countries, organizations and people are becoming more sensitive to sustainability of the environment.
In Nigeria, Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), the operator of the joint venture between the Nigerian National Petroleum (NNPC) and CNL ranks high among some corporate bodies that have made Environmental stewardship part of their social investments. For over 50 years, CNL has remained an active agent of sustainable development and strong advocate of partnerships in support of the environment.
Explaining CNL’s commitment to the environment, the Chairman/Managing Director, Jeff Ewing noted that CNL is happy to be part of the solution to the global environmental issues wherever the company operates through its sound environmental management policy that supports environmental stewardship and sustainable development.
Ewing was of the view that the company has in place a company-wide operational excellence management system that delivers industry-leading performance in process safety, personal safety and health, environment, reliability and efficiency. CNL has a record of responsible environmental stewardship everywhere it operates and has also established enduring partnerships with governments, non–governmental organizations, business organizations and communities. “CNL has been supporting and sponsoring various programmes aimed at preserving the environment. These partnerships and efforts have been recognized and rewarded within and outside the country,” Ewing added.
CNL’s environmental stewardship process lays the foundation for sound environmental management. The identification, assessment and management of environmental risks runs through the entire project cycle from inception to operations and through decommissioning. Chevron recognizes the importance of minimizing its footprints and conserving biodiversity. The NNPC/CNL Joint Venture (JV) strives continually to achieve world class environmental excellence by assessing and reducing its footprints and potential impacts from its operations on the environment.
Management of waste is an integral part of CNL’s operations and this is documented by project and operations focused waste management plans. The company states that it effectively manages its third-party waste handling contractors towards ensuring management of waste from cradle to grave (generation, storage, transportation and disposal).
The company’s commitment to preserving the environment has left enduring landmarks in the landscape. As part of its support to environment, Chevron established in 1992, the Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) — a centre of excellence in environmental research and education, reserved as a sanctuary for the rich flora and fauna of the Lekki Peninsula. The 78-hectare facility was set up by the Company in partnership with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF). The support for the LCC best connects Chevron’s activities to the theme of the WED 2018.The NCF is Nigeria’s foremost non-governmental organization dedicated to environmental conservation and an affiliate of the World-Wide Fund for Nature.
In 2005, Chevron established a yearly postgraduate research scholarship for PhD students in environment and conservation. In addition, the company hosts the annual S. L. Edu Memorial Lecture to promote environmental management awareness.
General Manager, Government, Policy and Public Affairs of Chevron, Esimaje Brikinn, explained that beyond the awards, CNL is ever willing to continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to safeguard the environment. According to Brikinn, “We are continually working to improve our processes to reduce pollution and waste, conserve natural resources, and reduce potentially negative environmental impacts of our activities and operations.”
Hopefully, the International Oil Company’s initiative will yield positive results through virile awareness campaign which it has embarked on in the country as plastic waste are usually littered in the environment especially in major cities.