The Social Responsibility
The article “Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria” depicts the controversial exploration of oil in Ogoniland, Nigeria. It illustrates how Shell managed to manipulate itself through the political power in oil exploration without considering the social benefit to their host society. It served the interest of other company’s shareholders. It did not and has not met its social responsibility as a business organization. Social responsibility with respect to a business organization describes a voluntary initiative by the enterprise to fulfill the various interest groups’ expectations. The interest groups, in this case, refer to owners, investors, employees, government and community or society. There are many reasons as to why the business should come forward and be responsible to the mentioned interest parties. The first point is the public image. The business activities towards the society’s welfare earn reputation and goodwill for the firm. In addition, the firm’s earnings depend on the public image of its activities. A good public image attracts competent and honest employees to work with such an employer. Other reasons why a business needs to be socially responsible are growth and survival. Every business is a part of the community. So for it to grow and survive, support from the society is very vital. Another reason is employee satisfaction. Apart from earning good salary and working in a favorable environment, the employers should aim at satisfying all the employees’ expectations as this fulfillment directly relates to productivity as well as long-term prosperity of the organization.
If not properly handled, the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa would have permanently stained the name of Shell and its reputation. According to Thilo Bode, the Executive Director of Greenpeace International, Ken Saro was hanged for advocating against the environmental damage by Shell Oil to the Niger Delta, conducted due to its drilling in that region for over thirty years. In his statement, he stated that Saro-Wiwa was advocating for the fundamental human rights, for instance, the right for clean water, land and air, according to Greenpeace. In order to counteract what happened, Shell called for quiet diplomacy following the death sentence confirmation by the Nigerian Ruling Council.
In my opinion, Shell needs not change its policy with regards to not getting involved in politics. This is because Shell is an independent business entity which should not be subject to political manipulation. This will cause the company lose its international outlook since it will affect its public image. However, Shell should come out and explain clearly to people, especially to Ogoni people in Nigeria, issues regarding the death of the presumed non-violent environmental campaigner. This will make people change their perception towards the company since many people all over the world feel that it was involved in Ken Saro-Wiwa’s death, which was then executed as the government’s directive.
In summary, Shell Oil Company needs to address the environmental issue regarding its oil drilling in the Niger Delta as part of its social responsibility. The drilling of oil causes a lot of pollution to the land, water as well as air in the abovementioned region. Therefore, for the business organization to co-exist with that community in peace, the company has to ensure safe water, land rehabilitation and air pollution control measures. This would serve the interest of the community, which includes many company’s stakeholders. Furthermore, environmental pollution controls are some of the key objectives a company should focus on, especially the likes of Shell that cause a lot of threat with regards to the surroundings. The environmental focus has taken the center stage with regards to sustainable development. There cannot be sustainable development without the incorporation of environmental pollution mitigation measures (Bruce et al., 2005). In short, Shell should take more responsibility for environmental and social issues in Ogoniland. This will not only benefit the Ogoni people but also help improve the public image of Shell as a business enterprise.