The World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated globally each year on June 5 tostimulate awareness of the environment and encourage political attention and action. According to the United Nations, WED aims to give a human perspective to environmental issues; empower people to become active agents of sustainable development and advocate multi-stakeholder partnerships in support of the environment.
The theme for 2016, which was celebrated few days ago, was on the illegal trade in wildlife under the slogan ‘Go Wild for Life’ ZERO TOLERANCE FOR THE ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE
The growing illegal trade in wildlife not only has adverse effects on biodiversity but is also valued billions of dollars according to World Wildlife Fund. According to United Nations Environmental Protection (UNEP), the booming illegal trade in wildlife products is eroding the Earth’s precious biodiversity, robbing humans of their natural heritage and driving whole species to the brink of extinction while the killing and smuggling is also undermining economies and ecosystems, fueling organized crime, and feeding corruption and insecurity across the globe.
As noted by the Nigerian Environment Society (NES), Nigeria’s wildlife has increasingly been threatened and endangered over the years as result of deforestation, increased poaching, development activities, and weak enforcement of national and international regulations/conventions.
Happily, some corporate bodies have made Environmental stewardship part of their social investments. One of such organisations in Nigeria is Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), the operator of the NNPC/CNL Joint Venture. The company has remained an active agent of sustainable development and strong advocate of partnerships in support of the environment.
Over 50 years, CNL has been supporting and sponsoring various programmes aimed at preserving the environment. The efforts, according to the company are in line with its commitment to Operational Excellence and Environmental Stewardship (ES) process.
The Company says its Operational Excellence and ES Process helps it to identify, assess and manage environmental issues/concerns in a sustainable manner and ensure Chevron conducts its operations in a way that will ensure protection of human health and the environment – including wildlife and other natural resources.
Mr. Clay Neff, Chairman and Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria Limited explained that the company’s ES Process is supported by the Natural Resources Environmental Performance Standard that sets minimum standards for managing environmental footprints, and consequently the ecosystem that supports wildlife which he said are done in accordance with the company’s Corporate Biodiversity Statement.
“The interaction between our capital projects and Wildlife is regularly assessed and monitored. We ensure that appropriate mitigation steps are taken, where necessary, as part of the expectations of our Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment (ESHIA) Process.
“The ESHIA, or local Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), involves broad participation by the regulators, local communities and other relevant stakeholders. The process ensures that our projects are carried out with due consideration to human health and for environmental protection – including wildlife. For Deepwater seismic activities, we have an established process for protecting marine life by utilizing the services of Marine Mammal Observer (MMO),” he said.
Further explaining CNL’s commitment to the environment, Clay Neff noted that Chevron is always glad to be part of the solution to global environmental issues, wherever the company operates, through its sound environmental management policy that supports environmental stewardship and sustainable development.
Chevron’s commitment to wildlife conservation is also demonstrated by its continued support for the enduring landmark known as the Lekki Conservation Centre which is reserved as a sanctuary for diverse wildlife and rich flora of the Lekki Peninsula.
The 78-hectare facility was established by the company in partnership with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Nigeria’s foremost non-governmental organization and an affiliate of the World Wide Fund for Nature. NCF is dedicated to the preservation of the full range of Nigeria’s biodiversity and promotion of sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of the present and future generations. The Foundation has served as a center for wildlife research over the years and has hosted students from different institutions, including researchers.
Chevron’s commitment to environmental protection is also evidenced in the following initiatives:
Nature Conservation and Education
In 2005, CNL 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. The company is also working with the NCF to evaluate the possibility of establishing the Niger Delta Conservation Centre.
Chevron’s efforts in environmental conservation were applauded by various stakeholders during the commissioning of a 401 meters Canopy Walk in the Family Park at Lekki Conservation Centre. At the occasion, former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola commended the company saying; “The whole purpose of this gathering today is environmental sustainability and we agreed to follow in the footsteps of partners like Chevron because we understand that Nature doesn’t need people, rather it is people that need Nature.” In the same vein, thePresident of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Izoma Philip Asiodu also expressed appreciation to Chevron Nigeria Limited for its financial support to the Lekki Conservation Centre since 1992.
Assessment of Environmental, Social and Health Risks
CNL has developed and is implementing processes to identify, assess, mitigate and manage potential risks to human health and the environment (including natural resources) associated with existing operations and capital projects. The company’s natural resources requirements also highlight the need to manage land and water from its operations.
In response to global initiatives against climate change, CNL has developed and is implementing a strategy towards eliminating flared gas. The strategy, includes the execution of the three-phased Escravos Gas Project (EGP), the Escravos Gas-to-Liquids project (EGTL) and the West African Gas Pipeline project (WAGP) – all aimed at ending routine gas flaring in its operations, while delivering other important values for Nigeria, NNPC, and for CNL. The Agbami project was also developed for zero routine flare.
Old Land Drill Sites
CNL, with an inventory of its legacy sites that are no longer in use, embarked on priority decommissioning and restoration activities to return the sites to their initial states and subsequently transferred such restored sites to their original owners for sustainable uses.
Putting Back: Restoring the Mangrove
CNL has developed, and applied expertise in mangrove restoration through a combination of modern afforestation techniques, including natural recovery and direct planting of mangroves. The company commenced the regeneration of the mangrove vegetation with a pilot scheme involving the planting of mangrove seedlings of different species at three selected sites along the Abiteye-Escravos right-of-way. Renewed efforts are also ongoing for further restoration utilizing Nigerian consultants with expertise in mangrove restoration.