Can the law assist corporate social responsibility deliver sustainable development to the Niger Delta?

  • Ini Etim Usoroh

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) involves striving for balance between environmental, social and economic performances of business. Encouraged by growing pressure for transparency and accountability in business, CSR constitutes an overall contribution of business to sustainable development; hence, healthy business requires a healthy community. The research asks if the law can assist CSR to deliver sustainable development to the underdeveloped but oil-rich Niger Delta, establishing areas of good practice whereby oil companies support the region's economy and social needs through their CSR activities. However, regulations do bring about social change thus business are obliged to obey the laws, codes of good practice and initiatives. Although CSR is not business' primary responsibilities, business can encourage poverty reduction and societal development. The analysis of Nigerian oil production laws reveals that court interpretations regarding rising number of oil-related litigations and procedures of settlements, neglects of oil communities and compensation payments have become difficult. While the outcomes of Joint Venture Arrangement (JVAs) crucially affect CSR performance, the need for reforms is necessary. Using the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) criteria, the analysis of Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC)'s CSR performance in Nigeria reveals that while improvements are needed in some areas including environmental and human rights protections, consultation and dialogue, overall, the research shows that the company positively affects the region. The research establishes that through effective enforcement, the law can assist CSR to deliver sustainable societal development. It is concluded that until CSR is made compulsory supported by legislations to guide businesses, the full gains of CSR cannot be achieved. Hence, the research offers a detailed novel definition of CSR to make businesses become more liable as the existing model allows them to act voluntarily. Using novel models, the research demonstrates how sustainable development can be attained through CSR and considering compulsory legislations, enforcement, compliance, stakeholders' integration, consultation, dialogue and prolific partnerships. The research also offers Government Social Responsibility (GSR), a concept to further governments' commitments to their citizens.
Date of Award2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Nottingham Trent University

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