Responsibility in World Business: Managing Harmful Side-Effects of Corporate Activity

By Lene Bomann-Larsen; Oddny Wiggen | Go to book overview

9
Shell in Ogoniland

Ogbonna Ike


Introduction

In 1993, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), a subsidiary of Shell Oil, had to stop its oil-prospecting operations in Ogoniland, a community in the Niger Delta which hosted about 10 per cent of Shell's oil wells. This decision was taken in the face of protests against its operations in the area, which culminated in violence against Shell staff and employees. The accusation against Shell is that its operations have had side-effects that it could have avoided if it had taken a more responsible approach to its operations. The side-effects include harm to the environment, pollution, and harm to the human population. Critics claim that Shell did not apply suitable environmental standards. Shell is also accused of complicity in the human rights abuses of the government in power at the time.

Whether there is a responsibility, and the extent of that responsibility, are difficult issues to determine. The PDE framework is thus applied here to enable the delineation of Shell's responsibility in specific instances. Lastly, we evaluate the framework for robustness and make suggestions for improvement.

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