Following BP’s Gulf of Mexico disaster, British and Irish church-based investor advocacy group the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR) has joined other civil society organisations and leaders calling for a compensation fund to address the impact of oil spills in Nigeria.
BP has been grilled in Congress and been forced to pledge billions of dollars in compensation to US communities, the international coalition points out. But in the Niger Delta, oil companies such as Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil have been largely responsible for decades of oil spills, destroying livelihoods and violating the human rights of local communities. Unlike victims in the US, villagers in Nigeria have had nowhere to turn for adequate remedies.
The Church of England and the Methodist Church have large shareholdings in several oil companies. The Church of England holding in Shell was valued at £82.1 million at the end of last year. In BP it had a shareholding valued at £90.7 million, and in Total £ 11 million.
The new ethical coalition - which includes more than 40 Nigerian, UK, US and international organisations and individuals - is calling for Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan to oversee the establishment of an independent compensation body, funded by oil revenues, to address the impact of oil spills. It also advocates other measures such as early replacement of ageing pipelines and public reporting of all major spills, to halt, and in time reverse, environmental degradation in the Niger Delta.
The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR) is a church-based investor coalition and membership organisation working for economic justice, human rights and environmental sustainability.
ECCR undertakes research, advocacy and dialogue to encourage companies to meet the highest standards of corporate responsibility and transparency, as well as assisting faith communities, their members and other investors in upholding these same high standards through responsible and positive-impact investment.
ECCR’s February 2010 report Shell in the Niger Delta: A Framework for Change - five case-studies from civil society is available online: http://www.eccr.org.uk/module-htmlpages-display-pid-78.html