New ISO 26000 to stop oil spills in Niger-Delta

Favour Nnabugwu

06 August 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – THE Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON, says the new ISO 26000 will stop oil spills in the Niger Delta region as it hinted of its plans to introduce guidelines for Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR.

The guidelines are an integral part of global best practice, and when finally in place would end oil spillage in the Niger Delta as well as address other environmental hazards in that region, Director-General of SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, has said.

He disclosed this in an interview at a workshop on the Nigerian Adoption Process in Abuja, saying it would no longer be business as usual for companies doing business in the country.

Odumodu said: “We know what has happened in the Niger-Delta region before now, but I can tell you that if we promote ISO 26000 and adopt it in Nigeria, it would be difficult for those kind of things to happen again in the future.”

He, therefore, called for co-operation between the federal and state governments “to adopt and promote the guideline and ensure that we all imbibe the tenets and principles of ISO 26000.”

“ISO 26000 would become a cap of the internal business process in organisations in such a way that whatever you want to do, you have to ask yourself questions like “is it good for my employees?, is it good for the environment?, is it good for the business ideals?, is it the kind of profit that I would be proud to talk about? At the end of the day, it would be about moralization; you have to do the right thing,” he added.

Odumodu explained that the aim of ISO 26000 was to show the path to be followed by providing the core subjects so that an organisation willing to follow the standard shall seek to achieve Social Responsibility from its own internal mobilisation.

He posited that if applied, ISO 26000 will not only offer the balance among safety, economic and environmental standards, but also promote innovation, which on the long run, would ensure Nigerian companies conform to global standards.

Earlier, Ini Onuk, Chief Executive Officer, ThistlePraxis Consulting Ltd, recommended that organisations that indulge in sharp practices and do not meet standards in their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSRs) be delisted from the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE.

“After the successful completion of this adoption exercise to ensure that in the near future, organisations that do not meet certain standards will be delisted or not listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.”

He noted: “We are looking at a situation like what South Africa has on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, where they have what they call the Social Responsibility Index. So for every company that is listed in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, they have to meet the Social Responsibility Index.

He added: “It is part of their qualification to be on the Exchange.
That is what we are looking at. We are hoping that by the time we adopt this, we would adopt it as an index and part of the requirement for the Stock Exchange”.

Onuk said that measures had also been put in place to work with the Ministry of Trade and Investment to ensure that Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) had a human face and were made to adhere to a sustainable development policy.

According to her: “This will ensure that the investments have tangible social impact devoid of periodic green washing or philanthropic tokenism often masqueraded as CSR.”

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  • We salute the efforts of the SON. However, it is important to note that a sizable proportion of the spills in the delta are a result of the activities of criminals and vandals.