World Environment Day 2017: Chevron’s commitment to connecting people to nature
By Our Correspondent
The World Environment Day (WED), held annually on June 5, is the biggest event to celebrate and promote environmental awareness and sustainability across the globe. Established by the United Nations (UN) 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 is not only the principal vehicle through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment, but 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.
‘Connecting People to Nature’, the theme for WED Day 2017, implores everyone to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share. According to the UN, the 2017 WED invites people to think about how they are part of nature and how intimately they depend on it. The UN notes that in recent decades, scientific advances as well as growing environmental problems such as global warming are helping the world to understand the countless ways in which natural systems support people’s prosperity and well-being.
Happily, some corporate bodies have made environmental stewardship part of their social investments. Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) – operator of the joint venture between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and CNL (NNPC/CNL JV) – is one of such organizations. For over 50 years, CNL hasremained an active agent of sustainable development and a 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 global environmental issues wherever the company operates through its sound environmental management policy that supports environmental stewardship and sustainable development.
According to him, CNL has in place a company-wide health, environment and safety guideline to ensure that its performance is world-class. “In Nigeria, our Operational Excellence obliges us to deliver industry-leading performance in process safety, personal safety and health, environment, reliability and efficiency to achieve world-class performance. 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,” he remarked.
Nature Conservation and Education
CNL’s commitment to preserving the environment has left enduring landmarks in the landscape, including 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. This 78-hectare facility is the only one of its kind in the Lagos area and it was established by CNL in partnership with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) in 1992. NCF is Nigeria’s foremost non-governmental organization dedicated to environmental conservation and an affiliate of the World-Wide Fund for Nature. Support for the LCC best connects CNL’s activities to the theme of the WED 2017.
In 2005, CNL established a yearly postgraduate research scholarship for PhD students in environment and conservation. In addition, CNL hosts the annual S. L. Edu Memorial Lecture to promote environmental management awareness. The company is also working with the NCF on the possibility of establishing the Niger Delta Conservation Centre.
CNL’s environmental stewardship process lays the foundation for sound environmental management through inclusion of the environment in decision making from the identification, assessment and management of environmental risks at project inception, to operations and through decommissioning. CNL recognizes the importance of minimizing its environmental footprints and conserving biodiversity. The NNPC/CNL JVstrives continually to achieve world class environmental excellence by assessing and reducing its environmental footprints and any potential impact from its operations on the environment.
CNL, while working with relevant environmental protection agencies, has also developed and is implementing internal processes to identify, assesses, mitigate and manage potentially significant risk and impacts to human health and the environment (including natural resources) associated with its existing operations and capital projects, including emissions, releases and wastes in a consistent and systematic manner. The company effectively engages its stakeholders and obtains alignment on its projects and proposals.
Gas flares out strategy
CNL has a strategic phase development for commercialization of produced gas throughout its operations. Some of its key projects to reduce gas flaring include: Escravos Gas Project, West African Gas Pipeline Project, Escravos Gas-to-Liquids Project, Sonam Field Development Project, Abiteye and Makaraba Non-Associated Gas (NAG) Development projects, amongst others.
From 2008 to 2016, the NNPC/CNL JV reduced routine gas flaring by over 90% through sustained investments, demonstrating its strong commitment to elimination of routine flaring and beneficial utilization of gas resources. The company remains an industry leader in growing supply of high quality gas to the domestic and regional markets, with a strong focus on operational excellence, environmental stewardship and enduring stakeholder partnerships.
Old Land Drill Sites
CNL took inventory of its old land drill sites that are not in use and embarked on priority restoration work to return the sites to their initial states, and revert the restored sites to their original owners.
Putting Back: Restoring the Mangrove
CNL continues to develop and implement sound conservation practices through mangrove restoration, utilizing a combination of modern afforestation techniques, including natural recovery and direct planting of mangroves. CNL commenced the regeneration of the mangrove vegetation with a pilot scheme involving the planting of mangrove seedlings of different species at selected locations.
The Nigerian Government, in 1999, acknowledged these efforts when the then Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) presented the company with its Environmental Achievement Award, which was the first of such awards in the industry. Similarly, in 2001, the Nigerian Environmental Society (NES) awarded CNL the Star Merit Award on Environment, in recognition of its contributions to the sustenance of the Nigerian ecology and its support for society’s activities. In 2016, the company was bestowed with the “Green Label Award” by NES in recognition of CNL’s laudable projects on sustainable development of the environment, good environmental management and conservation practices.
In addition, the NCF honored the company with two awards – Sustained Support for Environmental Excellence and Conservation Leadership – in 2002 and 2010 respectively. In 2006, the Delta State Government honored CNL with the Best Oil Company in Oil Spill Management Practices award, while the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria gave CNL a Corporate Good Environment Health Practice Award for the company’s “commitment to responsible environmental stewardship” in Nigeria.
Esimaje Brikinn, CNL’s General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs notes that, beyond the awards, CNL is ever willing to continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to safeguard the environment. “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,” he remarked.