Course: International Environmental law and Biodiversity
Questions: Oil and gas exploitation ''A paradox of plenty'' A Lesson and a challenge for multinational corporations and the indigenous people in a ''new'' Arctic
Over the past years,there has been a shift by oil and gas companies to Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR).CSR is a self regulatory policy whereof businesses monitor and ensure it actively complies with the spirit of the law,ethics and international rules.In the case of oil companies, most have failed to effectively meet its economic,social and environmental responsibilities.Thus often discrediting the genuineness and reliability of the CSR policy most especially considering the fact that the rule of every game; is ''business'' as noted by Milton Friedman: ''...there is one and only one social responsibility of business-to use its resources and engage in activities to increase its profit so long as it stays within the rules of the game...''Once such a rule takes over the primodial rules of CSR,then the cliché '' a paradox of plenty'' justifiably fits to support the positions of other proponents who argue its merely a window dressing.For every business has the capacity to increase or decrease the quality of life by creating profits or negative externalities such as pollution,accidents and oil spills in an oil company stemmed as forms of ineffiency in production.In as much as businesses must obey the law,in the absence of such law,they ought to act ethically to avoid any damages forming the triple bottom line-economic,social and environmental(Corporate Social Responsibility).The efforts of oil companies are commendable towards leveraging the standards of CSR;that notwithstanding as proven in the preceding oil and gas cases under study; such shifts does not denote a tangible change in its operations as an oil company and its public relation exercise due to setbacks of globalisation influenced by the variation,ineffectiveness and unenforceability of local and international laws and treaties governing oil and gas exploitation within different parts of the world.Therefore,such cases ring a warning bell, serves a lesson and a challenge to future investors,oil companies and indigenous peoples in the ''new'' Arctic on the flaws,amendments and challenges expected in the field once an oil company is issued a licence for exploitation.Besides ascertaining the degree of applicability of the policy of CSR by the oil companies,a number of other pertinent questions arises such as ''Will the melting of the ice cap in the High North pose security threats due to access to oil and gas extraction? Threats due to oil spills(Environmental risks)? Threats as to 'self interest' profit-making and other illegal and unethical practices such as overstating earnings and reserves(Economic risks) and Threats to the indigenous people such as displacement,unemployment and death (Social risks).Moreover, mindful of all the international conventions and national laws that bind and guide mineral(oil and gas) exploitation such as the Stockholm declaration 1972,the Bonn Conventions 1969,the Arhus Convention and the Stockholm Convention 2001 just to name a few,some oil companies still play the window dressing game despite the repercussions.In the preceding paragraphs,some leading cases that stand the test of time will be closely examined to unravel the creditability and questionable character of oil and gas companies while underpinnning its flaws and also bring to the fore lessons for its stakeholders in the ''new'' Arctic. One of the first cases to be analysed is the Exxon Valdez case.It is one of the most disastrous oil incidents that tested the abilities of local, national amd industrial organisations spilling more than eleven million gallons of crude oil off the coast of Laska in US...
References: Jay .G.Martin,Sustainable Developments:Impacts of Current Trends on Oil amd Gas Development,24 J.Land Resources and Envil.L.257,at 258(2004).
Gregory Dess and Alan Eisner,Strategic Management 2006
Mathias Beck and Charles Woolfson,eds.Corporate Social Responbility Failures in the Oil Industry 2(2005).
 Jay .G.Martin,Sustainable Developments:Impacts of Current Trends on Oil amd Gas Development,24 J.Land Resources and Envil.L.257,at 258(2004).
 US Congress: Oil Pollution Act 1990 and the Oil Spill Trust Fund
 Mathias Beck and Charles Woolfson,eds.Corporate Social Responbility Failures in the Oil Industry 2(2005).
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