The need for a safe, hazard free and healthy environment cannot be over-emphasized. This need is accentuated by obvious facts such as climate change, acid rain, ozone depletion, species extinction as is characteristic of global environmental trends (Claudio, 2007). The UNEP, (2013) report shows that people everywhere around the world (2 million annual deaths and billions of diseases attributed to pollution) experience the negative consequences of environmental degradation, ecosystem decline and natural disasters due to untoward environmental practices as well as unsafe environmental management and disposal of toxic and dangerous waste materials, leading to worldwide demand for environmental justice and stewardship.
According to the American Quarterly, (1970) environmental protection has a long standing campaign in the United State. The global consciousness it has gained and awakened in recent times however, as noted by McCornick, (1991) can be attributed to the first international agreement on environment signed in 1962. This global awakening Desai, (2012) highlighted is reinforced by ‘over 500 multilateral environmental agreements and specialized institutions grappling with governance of environmental problems’. Also international standard organizations such as the International Standardization Organization (ISO) and the Social Accountability International (SAI) have developed world class standards, environmental management systems and certification that corporate organizations seeking to identify and control their environmental impact and constantly improve their environmental performance work with (International Standard for Business, Government and Society, 2013).
Environmental management and stewardship has never been the overriding goal of corporate organizations. When organizations decide on any form of stewardship, its intent is basically economic-capital accumulation and capital base solidification. Insisting that corporate bodies engage in activities other than this opined Adam Smith, is a theft of shareholders equity (as cited in Cassidy & Kreitner,). However, proponents of environmental accountability and stewardship such as Hawken, (1993) emphasize that the greatest stock of capital which industries employ are from nature and these are largely unaccounted for. Reiterating the importance of recognizing the finite nature of such capital and the need to assign costs to them, Alberta.ca (2014 Web page) noted that individuals and corporate bodies making full use of its endowments should work at being its stewards too, conserving it to ensure its lasting existence to satisfy their needs.
Generally, corporate environmental responsibility is not government sponsored. Though it allows for their participation, it should be self-motivated and self-directed. Self-motivated self-directed environmental responsibility warrants social accountability. Corporate bodies should be responsible for their actions against humanity in the economic process (SAI, 2014 Web page).
Environmental management and stewardship a global perspective
Environmental justice as defined by Bullard, (1990) refers to the principle that all people and communities are entitled to equal protection of environmental and public health laws and regulations. Similar terms-Eco justice (Environmental Encyclopedia, 2003) and Eco-efficiency (Best Practice Application of the ISO 14001) describes man’s indebtedness to the environment that has so provided and taken care of him for ages. Lynn, (1967 as cited in Hand & Crowe, 2012) Explained that world’s ecological crisis has at its root the Judeo-Christian values which promotes anthropocentric attitude, and the Western technological mastery of the word which has led to the exploitation of nature.
Managing the environment should be a voluntary act. The simple act of getting up and making one’s bed describes this fact. If one does not oblige the voiceless bed this one request, he gets to sleep on an uncomfortable one. If one wood pulls off and does not get fixed back, one wakes up with a seemingly beaten body. If the bed gets totally broken and not replaced, one comes back to no bed to sleep on. Man must learn to take as little as possible from the environment, make the most of it, and the outcome of such action should in some way replenish what was taken.
The move to preserve and conserve the environment has been a long lasting one for nations around the globe. McCormick, (1991) noted that in first century Rome, Columella and Pliny the elder warned that poor husbandry threatened crop failures and soil erosion. This century, Cartwright, (1986) posited that the executive in the American Government Administration have concentrated their foreign policy efforts on what is perceived to be the most pressing concern. This motivated the chairman of the house subcommittee on Human Rights and International Organizations to make the point clear in a 1984 hearing that ‘ the state of the world is becoming increasingly relevant to our (American) society, as America’s interests are inextricably linked to the way developing nations manage their resources. In addition, global environmental problems are synergistic. Successful economic development in such areas as Asia, Latin America, and Africa is not only compatible with, but also dependent upon wise resource management’. This fact is reinforced more recently by Claudio, (2003) when he wrote that in countries around the world the concept of environmental justice can apply to communities where those at a perceived disadvantage puts them at a disproportionate risk of being exposed to environmental hazards.
McCormick, (1991) posits that the recent hype in the demands by nations for corporate environmental responsiveness cannot be attributed to any singular event. However Royston, (1984) noted that the 1972 Conference which led to the establishment of the United Nation’s Environmental Program (UNEP) marked the beginning of a global effort at uniting all sectors of the world in the fight against destructive environment practices and the installation of best practices towards eco-efficiency and eco-justice. The UNEP according to Desai, (2012) has remained active in playing that role. In fact, it was revitalized in 1997 to continue playing a stronger role in setting Global environmental agenda and being an authoritative advocate for the global environment. This goal it has achieved through a series of conferences which has resulted in several treaties and the establishment of several sub-units under the UNEP known as the United Nations Monitoring groups and the development of regulatory blueprints for environmental resourcefulness. Globally, it can be said with certainty that people are more conscious of the need to manage the environment so as to sustain their existence. In Africa and particularly in Nigeria, the story is a little bit different.
A Bird Eye On Africa
Africa has been tagged the ‘Dark Continent’. Its underdeveloped state has led to it being bedeviled by issues many of which are environmental in nature. Poverty which is a key problem in Africa has been linked to the environment. Cartwright, (1986) observed that desertification, deforestation, soil erosion, unbridled population growth, and wild life extinction exacerbate world poverty, impedeeconomic growth. Africa has consistently been on the limelight of environmental issues. With forests and grasslands being threatened by agro-fuel production and continuing prospects of industrial extraction of mineral and oil (Abrams et-al, 2009), these issues keep on escalating by the day.
There is a strong need for the enforcement of environmental conservation policies. This is more so because as Awoyemi, (2008 as cited in Abrams et-al 2009) puts it, daily life in Africa is least affected by issues such as climate change. Environmental concerns, posits Abrams is basically related to the spiritual, people conserve certain trees because they are thought to be sacred. Baker, (2014) also noted that some monkeys in eastern Nigeria are preserved in their natural habitats too for basically same reason, this obviously leading to the preservation of those environments. McCormick, (1991) on the other hand believes that issues relating to the conservation and protection of the environment in Africa emerged as a form of political and economic control, a desire for unrestrained exploitation of natural resources. Increased demand for environmental consciousness, eco-justice, eco-efficiency and ultimately, stewardship is indeed necessary to redress this anomaly.
Nigeria is faced with so many environmental issues. With its agro based economy and heavy activities in oil mineral extraction it is constantly grappling with issues of soil degradation, rapid deforestation, oil pollution-water, air and soil. The country has suffered serious damage from oil spills, loss of arable land and rapid urbanization (Nigeria Environment-current issues Factbook,).
Environmental issue in Nigeria has evolved over the years. Zagi, (2012) said that from the early 70s to the mid 80s, little proactive measures were taken by the Nigerian Government to safeguard the environment. It was not until the 80s when there was an oil spillage in Finiwa and Forcados oil terminals that people became sensitized to the importance of protecting the environment. Nnimo, (2013) noted that since those early days, Nigerian environmental issues have grown to include illegal logging, bush burning, over grazing industrial pollution, chemical pollution, toxic wastes and gas flaring mining issues, solid waste management/medical wastes/electronic wastes/plastics, erosion – gully, coastal, etc, floods/droughts – most cities lack drainage plans, rural communities are at the mercy of the elements, false climate solutions – Agrofuels, REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). Talking about the inability of the Nigerian regulators to positively engineer the environment he posited that there should be ‘systemic change and not cosmetic solutions’.
System change according to Hawken, (1993) involves a reversal in responsibility and accountability. Using the parking lots concept he emphasized the need for corporations to take responsibilities for their chemicals that get loose and poison the environment, ‘they should create methods to detoxify and recycle these chemicals. He further reiterated the need for setting as an ultimate goal the use of less for the production of more.
Nigerians have very little awareness of the need to conserve the environment. Few environmental policies have been sporadically introduced over the years, and little has been done in terms of enforcement. Eneh, (2011) noted that the few policies were the result of certain developments such as the Stockholm conference in 1972, the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and the dumping of toxic waste in Nigerian waters by a foreign company in 1988. According to Nigeria's Report to the fifth and seventh Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, (1999) in 1990 the Nigerian Government established the National council on Environment to provide the platform for interactive consultations on matters of environmental management throughout the federation. Other legislations led to similar developments such as the setting up of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, (FEPA), Federal Environmental Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Council on the Environment (NCE). However, recent happenings with the flooding of the Benue in 2012 indicates that such Bodies as FEMA is actually set up to react to environmental occurrences and not proactively take serious steps to prevent, prepare for their occurrence or even provide alternatives that are receptive to the people. (OBTAIN INFORMATION ABOUT ANY TO SUBSTANTIATE THIS)
Many Nigerians typically believe that environmental issues are solely Government issues. People expect Government to clean up the roads, take care of drainages, manage wastes (even industrially generated ones), provide good roads, rural health care facilities and generally carry out all forms of environmentally related activities. However, insisting that the Government alone should bear the burden of environmental stewardship is practically insinuating that these things should be left undone or not properly taken care of. Environmental management should obviously be every body’s business. In nations such as the United States, Environmental issues are everybody’s issues. I dare say that peculiarities in such states in terms of constant exposure to extreme weather Phenomenon (such as Typhoon, Hurricanes, and earthquakes) has necessitated that everyone be constantly conscious of the adverse effect of his or her untoward practices against the environment. Nigerians, with limited cases of such, see no reason to be overly concerned. Concepts such as Ozone depletion, atmospheric pollution, green house effect, acidification, salination, desertification, and rapid urbanization which according the World Factbook, (2013) are among Nigeria’s current Environmental issues, are termed by the average Nigerian to be western oriented, and the consequences of such not to be bothered with. What more with the wide spread poverty and unemployment, the least two third Nigerians are interested in is the environment. Given such perception, it then becomes clear why there is no pressure on corporate organizations to consciously take charge or make provisions for the environment that has given them so much.
Though corporate environmental management should (as is generally believed) be voluntary, it should be made mandatory in Nigeria given the history of non commitment by most of these organizations operating within the shores of Nigeria. Nigerians should insist that multinational companies carry out Corporate Social Responsibilities here as much as they do in their parent nations or even in other nations where they operate.
CSR, ISO14000 in Environmental Stewardship
Stewardship can be conceptualized as working at taking care of what was entrusted to one. Doing that which if fundamentally right and for the benefit of others, to be the greater one. It can be termed as working in a lowly capacity for others. Stewardship should not be construed as negative, a position of a nobody, in this context, it should be seen as an opportunity to be a true leader. It should be likened to a father who knows and assumes his responsibilities towards his children. Such sacrifice might not be recognized by the child, but the father does it nonetheless. When such form of responsibility is taken up by corporate institutions, it is tagged Corporate Social Responsibility.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR), also known as company ethics, commercial residency, societal presentation, or sustainable company is a type of commercial self-instruction incorporated into a business pattern. CSR guiding principle operates as a fixed, self- instruction means whereby a company observes and makes certain its dynamic conformity with the strength of the regulation, ethics, and global standards. In some patterns, a company’s execution of CSR goes further than conformity and involves in measures that materialize to promote some community welfare, ahead of the wellbeing of the company and that which is requisite by regulation. CSR is a procedure with the objective to hold close accountability for the firm’s measures and promote an optimistic effect throughout its actions on the surroundings, customers, human resources, societies, shareholders and all other associates of the community sphere who may also be well thought-out as shareholders. Berry's non-fiction offers a comprehensive discussion concerning the lifestyle he lays emphasis on. According to him, the good lifestyle entails sustainable farming, suitable technology, strong rustic societies, good employment and best financial side (White, 1995).
EU’s Green paper on CSR described it as ‘a conception in which firms incorporate societal and ecological issues in their business functions and in their dealings with their shareholders on intended foundations’. And more lately, McWilliams and Siegel (2001:117) describe it as “ events that come out to promote some societal benefit, further than the wellbeing of the company and that which is requisite by regulation”. Despite the fact that the CSR structure is a novel denomination, it is not an original activity. It could be rooted back to such cases as the Quaker in 17th and 18th centuries whose company viewpoint was not mainly determined by profit maximization but by the requirement to give importance to the general public in general – company was structured as element of the community and not diverges from it. The resurgent concern in the activity offers a fruitful position for diverse discussions and players, which provides it to numerous structures (Moon 2002).
Provided with the domination of the West in forming the CSR program, the current CSR activity could be, questionably, stated to be mainly established on Anglo American main concerns, philosophical views and standards (Chapple and Moon, 2005). And as characteristic of other commerce conceptions, Corporate Social Responsibility is on its approach to globalization, particularly throughout International Companies and International Institutes. On the other hand, a central issue in the contemporary drive for worldwide Corporate Social Responsibility activity is the apparent fundamental theories of the homogenous feature of the Corporate Social Responsibility structure at a worldwide stage. In this manner, there is a growing text on the implication and performance of CSR all over societies and nationwide borders (Fig, 2005). A general strand that runs throughout most of these accounts, recommends that implication and activity of Corporate Social Responsibility is socially and culturally entrenched.
Corporate Social Responsibility in Nigeria
Nigeria forms an attention-grabbing case to discover the implication and activities of Corporate Social Responsibility for many rationales. Nigeria is the most densely inhabited black‐nation state in the globe and is dominant both in sub Saharan Africa and in the worldwide financial system – not least in the confirmed facility of its domestic affairs to undermine the global oil marketplace.
Indeed, constant political turbulences in Nigeria are not unrelated to the social and ecological issues that lie at the centre of Corporate Social Responsibility discussion. Issues of scarcity in the middle of plethora, ecological carelessness and government department‐political dishonesty involve both the performance of the Nigerian regime and those of international oil firms particularly.
There have been many cases of Corporate Social Responsibility in Nigeria, most of which have, for the most part, stressed on international companies and less on local companies (Wheeler et al., 2002). If the Corporate Social Responsibility activities of international companies working in Nigeria reveal the nationwide business schemes of their nation, as van Tulder and Kolk (2001) assert, the concern hence takes place on how local Nigerian companies observe and carry out Corporate Social and Environmental management Responsibilities. For the purpose of this paper, the triple bottom line responsibility assessment has been redesigned to include People, Place and the Individual. Organizations under study will be analyzed in terms the impact of their CSR activities on communities, the natural environment and the individual who is directly benefited by such philanthropic gestures.
The ISO 14000 management standard
ISO 14000 is a family of principles interrelated with ecological administration that prevails to support firms desire (a) to stop those functions that pessimistically influence the surroundings (i.e. grounds unpleasant changeovers to the atmosphere); (b) act in accordance with related rules, and (c) constantly progress in the above. ISO 14000 is related to ISO 9000 quality administration in that both relate to the procedure of how manufactured goods are formed, somewhat than to the produce itself. The ISO 14000 as against other standards (ISO 50001- energy management, ISO 22000- food safety management) is a standard that sets out the baseline for organizations striving to achieve certification for setting up an effective environmental management system (ISO Web page).
Firms adopting the ISO standards seek to adopt a systematic approach to the management of the environment. Many corporate firms hitherto might have sparsely distributed activities which do not add up to a comprehensive environmental management structure. The ISO system gives them the benefits of a consolidated front which as is described by Best Practice Manual, (2013) benefits firms in terms of
‘Managing their interactions with the environment in a more effective, systematic manner, saving money and staff time required to manage their environmental affairs, relating effectively to their neighboring communities and other stakeholders, Improving their image among their customers and stakeholders and engaging in a process of continuous learning’.
Adoption ISO 14000 give the firms the platform necessary to making environmental management an integral part of company policy. Systematically they go through the process of determining where they are at in present practice, setting policies and plans to guide their future actions based on overall organization goal, map out strategic implementation steps, actually implement and evaluate outcome (evaluators might be externally sourced) periodically. A combination of the ISO 14000 management system and the rubrics of the triple bottom line social stewardship system can actually enable firms in Nigeria be more proactive in responding to the needs of the environment. How are firms in Nigeria faring in this regard?
Nigerian Industries in the Implementation of Environmental Management and Stewardship
Firms, operating within the Nigerian shores, have little or no knowledge of the ISO 14000 management standards. A study of 25 firms indicates that only 7 are ISO 14000 compliant. When contacted, only 4 agreed to have knowledge of the standard at all and - 4 noted that ISO 9001:2008 -led to the non adoption of the standard by their given firms.
In the scope of this section, the major advantages, implied by ISO 14000 certification for these business entities would be represented
It is essential to refer to the fact that the increased awareness, which surrounds environmental issues by suppliers and customers, may be compared to the spurring process, which should be sought by the industries in the global scales in order to find the most appropriate solutions for integrating the environmental management systems (EMSs) into their daily operations (Williams, 2012).
Integration of the EMS into the mainstream commonly with other systems of management assists businesses in terms of meeting the needs of their customers’, which, in turn, contribute the achievement of the own financial goals (Division on Earth and Life Studies et al, 1996). More than that, integrating the EMS into daily activities of an organisation also assists its top management in terms of assessing the rate of consciousness within a workforce of business in terms of environmental impacts and costs, often overlooked due to the fact that they are difficult to quantify (Environmental Protection Agency & Department of Energy, 2002).
It is assumed by the top management of 7 of 25 organizations, which have been analyzed in the scope of this paper, that EMS becomes an organization’s daily operating environment’ integral part. The major reason for such trend is the fact that all the employees of these organisations, involving manufacturing associates, decision makers, finance personnel and marketing representatives, take ownership in a process, guiding the organization for achievement of higher productivity rates.
Among the major reasons for the need of ISO 14000, the organisations refer to the following facts and information. First of all, ISO 14000 standard is considered to be a “green” standard and thus it sets the specific requirements towards a comprehensive EMS (Johnson, 1997). This standard was formally published on September 1, 1996 by International Organization for Standardization. The major purpose of its development was providing the organizations with an option of formulating objectives and policy within a framework of structured management systems. At the same time, the plant-specific environmental concerns relevant public issues, legislative requirements should be taken in consideration (Sayre, 1996).
While discussing the process of planning and practical implementation of the ISO 14000 into the enterprises, additional emphasis should be put on the following information: after establishing the relevant information, the development of the EMS and its practical implementation should be launched. The policy’ initiation, promotion and maintenance are supported by the significant environmental aspects documentation alongside with the impacts, which are associated with the identification of pertinent regulations and laws and their facility. In addition, the EMS is also required to have the measurable targets, documented objectives and programs for review - on a regular basis (Johnson, 1997).
Significant aspects related to the environment and their impacts should be taken in consideration while developing the organisational objectives, setting the overall goals for environmental performance. In addition, these environmental aspects should be tied to indicators of performance, relevant functions of the organization, rates and operational controls alongside with monitoring and measuring activities (Abuhav, 2011).
As it has been noted by the top management of the Nigerian Industries, while discussing the implementation of environmental management and stewardship, the needs of program support and the guideline and schedule practical implementation alongside with the document reference list and plan for training nd development should be integrated into the process of planning the EMS. Additional emphasis was put on the fact that practical implementation of the EMS should use the existing programs, procedures and systems whenever possible.
In the scope of this section, the sample of practical implementation checklist would be represented - as the one, which may assist the top management of the business entities in the process of integration of the EMS into the daily activities of an organization and for preparing the organisation to the ISO 14000 certification:
Identification of owner of the ISO 14000 process at the site;
Identification of the entire set of the processes, sites, and functions, which represent the special requirements, acceptable for practical implementation of the EMS;
Defining and documenting a matrix of currently existing procedures and policies
Developing additional procedures, which are essential for meeting the requirements, if such are posed;
Developing internal methods and training material for instruction;
Conducting the trainings with personnel and internal auditors in terms of ISO 14000
More than that, in the process of straightening the ties between the customer, environmental costs, and the operations, businesses are expected to see the continuing costs’ decrease, compliance increasing and productivity improvement, as well as a greater quantity of satisfied customers.
Abuhav, I. (2011) ISO 13485: A Complete Guide to Quality Management in the Medical Device Industry. CRC Press
Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council, Commission on Life Sciences (1996) Improving the Environment: An Evaluation of the DOE's Environmental Management Program. National Academies Press
Environmental Protection Agency & Department of Energy, U.S. (2002) Federal Facility Environmental Management Systems: A Primer and Implementation Guide. Government Institutes
Johnson, G. (1997) The ISO 14000 EMS Audit Handbook. CRC Press
Johnson, P. (1997) ISO 14000: The Business Manager's Complete Guide to Environmental Management. John Wiley & Sons
Sayre, D.A. (1996) INSDE ISO 14000: The Competitive Advantage of Environmental Management. CRC Press
Williams, A.L. (2012) The Environmental Stewardship Toolkit: How to Build, Implement and Maintain an Environmental Plan for Grounds and Golf Courses. John Wiley & Sons