AN EVALUATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY OF CORPORATE BODIES IN NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • PREAMBLE

In the past, environmental consideration used to get less attention and minimum importance in economic policies. However, this has been subject to gradual change, which is widely accepted, particularly in the industrialized countries. This better awareness of environmental problems and the need to combat them has gradually been given more importance in the industrialized countries and the worries are that this maybe achieved at the expense of economic development. Neither extreme are preferable since economic development and improved environment need each other in the long run for sustainable growth and therefore they should be integrated in a balanced way to achieve sustainable development.

Industrial development brings obvious benefits but it frequently entails damage to the environment and to human health. The main negative impacts of industrialization are wasteful impacts of industrialization are wasteful use and depletion of scarce natural resources, air, water and soil pollution, congestion noise and squalor, accumulation of hazardous wastes and accidents with significant environmental consequences. Industrialization patterns and the consequent exploitation of natural resources and environment degradation have been markedly unbalanced.

A company is an integral part of society and is subject to the pressures of the company in which it operates. Most companies seeking a good public image are increasingly conscious of the needs to conserve energy to protect the environment from the pollution of industrial waste and spillage attempt to be good employers to provide facilities and/or welfare to the local community or the country as a whole.

In the production account of companies where exploitable resources (renewable such as natural forests and natural fish and non-renewable such as mineral deposits) are extracted and sold only the direct costs associated with its extraction, including labour are recognized as the costs of production. They do not include the cost of their consumption of the natural capital and environmental degradation. This has led to companies presenting misleading financial information and ignoring how people live and the quality of life which is associated with an understanding that respect for life is intimately and inevitably bound up with respect for the environment.

The environment is being endangered because economic policy stresses increase in production, but neglects to account for the depletion of natural resources and damage to the environment. The continued damage to the fragile natural environment and the health of the people is due mainly to the uncontrolled greed of oil companies in their exploration and exploitation of crude oil and natural gas.

These activities have led to numerous spillages, gas flaring, pollution, flooding, coastal erosion, earth tremors, etc all of which constitute a threat to the people survival.

The result has been a rapid decline in the quality of life of the people. Many of them forced out of their traditional occupation of farming, fishing and the production of palm oil and kernels. There is need for organization and the government to recognize “defensive expenditure” to protect or restore the environment and “user cost” for the depletion and the degradation of natural resources as part of their production costs.

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