Purpose – This paper aims to examine the place of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in the sustainable development of the Niger Delta. Design/methodology/approach – To achieve this objective, the paper takes an overview of the oil industry and the Niger Delta. The paper further evaluates the sustainable policy of the SPDC, and highlights the strengths and weaknesses. Findings – The paper establishes that oil industry activities have undermined the sustainable development of the region. Although the SPDC has created wealth for Nigeria, the wealth does not benefit the Niger Delta people due to the culture of politics which promotes individual and parochial interests as against public good. SPDC's investments in the oil producing communities suffer a number of set backs which include faults in implementation strategy and structural deformities in the development process of the country. Also of note is the environment unfriendly operation of the SPDC that pollutes the environment and induces unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and collapse of local economies. Practical implications – The paper suggests political reforms and changes in oil legislations that will direct the oil wealth to the benefit of the people. Originality/value – The paper demonstrates that SPDC's sustainable development strategy in the Niger Delta has gaps that constrain efficiency. This understanding can guide the company to reposition its sustainable development programmes and thus become more beneficial to the oil producing communities.
International Journal of Development Issues – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 27, 2008
Keywords: Nigeria; Sustainable development; Oil industry; Social responsibility
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