“What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on.”
These words of Henry David Thoreau underscore the emerging conversations as we mark yet another World Environment Day (WED).
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 people to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth.
This global event has since become the principal vehicle through which the United Nations 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 themes and discussions focusing on environmental stewardship.
“Air Pollution,” the theme for World Environment Day 2019, is a potential environmental risk that can impact people as well as the environment. Available statistics show that air pollution is the fourth-largest threat to human health, behind high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking. The World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that there were an estimated 6.5 million deaths worldwide from air pollution-related diseases in 2012.
Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), the operator of the joint venture between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and CNL (NNPC/CNL JV) conducts its business in a socially and environmentally responsible manner in compliance with regulatory requirements, best practices and has made environmental stewardship part of its social investment programs. 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 the company 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 Mr. Ewing, “CNL 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 applauded within and outside Nigeria.”
In protecting the environment and helping to manage air emissions, CNL has invested extensively in projects aimed at eliminating routine flares from its operations and establishing a profitable gas business through a range of domestic, regional and export supply projects. These projects help fulfill NNPC/CNL JV’s Domestic Gas Supply Obligation and support the Nigerian Gas Master Plan. These projects include the Escravos Gas Plant, the Escravos Gas-to-Liquids plant, Sonam Gas Development and the Abiteye and Makaraba Non-Associated Gas Development. Through investments in gathering and processing associated gas, routine flaring has been reduced by over 90% from 2008 to date in CNL’s operations.
CNL’s environmental stewardship process lays the foundation for sound environmental management. The identification, assessment and management of environmental risks are captured through the entire project cycle from inception to operations to decommissioning. CNL recognizes the importance of minimizing its environmental footprint and preserving biodiversity and the NNPC/CNL JV strives continually to achieve world class environmental excellence by assessing and reducing potential impacts on the environment arising from its operations.
CNL continues to conduct Environmental Impact Assessments and Environmental Evaluation studies of its Joint Venture and Deepwater operations to ensure potential environmental impacts are identified and mitigated in accordance with environmental performance standards and industry best practices. We continue to invest in available technology for tracking and managing of our ecological footprint in our areas of operation.
CNL’s commitment to preserving the environment has left enduring landmarks in the landscape. In 1992, CNL established the Lekki Conservation Centre – a center 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 CNL in partnership with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF). NCF is Nigeria’s foremost non-governmental organization dedicated to environmental conservation and an affiliate of the World-Wide Fund for Nature.
In 2005, CNL and its affiliates began to support a yearly postgraduate research scholarship for doctorate students in environment and conservation, instituted by the NCF. In addition, CNL hosts the annual S. L. Edu Memorial Lecture to promote environmental management awareness.
Esimaje Brikinn, CNL’s General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, notes that beyond the awards, CNL continues 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.