By Osa Amadi, Arts Editor
If you have ever passed through the Lekki Expressway to Victoria Garden City (VGC), Ajah and environ in Lagos, there is no way the wide lush forest on the right-hand side of the road at Km 19 Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lekki Peninsula II, could have escaped your notice.
The forest is the Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) established in 1992 by Chevron Nigeria Limited for the preservation of the rich flora and fauna of the Lekki Peninsula as well as for environmental research and education. The LCC is an eloquent testimony to Chevron Nigeria’s commitment to preservation of the environment.
The 78-hectare Lekki Conservation Centre was set up by the Chevron in partnership with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, a non-governmental organization dedicated conservation of the environment and affiliated to the Worldwide Fund for Nature.
As an oil company, Chevron is aware of the huge environmental impacts of oil production. It knows about the environmental impact of the huge energy needed to produce and refine the oil; pipeline sabotage and oil spills resulting in water, air and land pollution, and of the emissions created from burning the oil produced.
It is probably for this reason that Chevron strives to minimize its footprints through biodiversity conservation. The company says its Joint Venture with NNPC strives to achieve world class environmental excellence by assessing potential risks and reducing its footprints and the potential impacts of its operations on the environment.
“CNL continues to conduct Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and Environmental Evaluation studies of its operations to ensure potential environmental risks are identified and where necessary mitigated in accordance with environmental performance standards and industry best practices. The company continues to invest in best available technology for tracking and managing of its ecological footprint in its areas of operation.”
A detailed paper released by the company earlier in the week began by quoting Edward Wilson who said, “We should preserve every scrap of biodiversity as priceless while we learn to use it and come to understand what it means to humanity.”
According to the paper, “The World Environment Day (WED), which takes place annually on June 5 is the biggest event to celebrate and promote environmental awareness and sustainability across the globe. Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972, WED aims to raise global awareness and mobilize humans to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth.
“This global event has since become the principal vehicle through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness about the environment. It also gives a human perspective to environmental issues, empowers people to become active agents of sustainable development and advocates multi-stakeholder partnerships in support of the environment. From 1974, when the first WED was held, the event has always been marked with different campaign themes and discussions focusing on environmental stewardship.
“Biodiversity”, the theme for World Environment 2020, as defined by the United Nations (U.N) Convention on Biological Diversity includes the diversity of ecosystems, species and genes and the ecological processes that support them. Unfortunately, biodiversity is under threat in many areas of the world and maintaining global diversity has emerged as a prominent and widespread issue, as natural diversity in ecosystems is essential to human life and plays an important role in sustainable development.
In the paper, the Chairman/Managing Director of Chevron, Jeff Ewing said CNL is proud to be part of the solution to the global environmental issues wherever the company operates through its sound environmental management policy that supports environmental stewardship and sustainable development.
According to him, “CNL has in place a company-wide operational excellence management system that delivers industry-leading performance in process safety, personal safety and health, environment, reliability and efficiency. CNL has a record of responsible environmental stewardship everywhere it operates and has also established enduring partnerships with governments, non–governmental organizations, business organizations and communities. CNL has been supporting and sponsoring various programmes aimed at Biodiversity Conservation.
These partnerships and efforts continue to be widely recognized and rewarded,” he remarked.
For close to 60 years, CNL has remained an active agent of sustainable development and strong advocate of partnerships in support of the environment. In 2005, the company began supporting a yearly postgraduate research scholarship for PhD students in environment and conservation, instituted by the Nigeria Conservation Foundation It also hosts the annual S.L. Edu Memorial Lecture to promote environmental management awareness.
In line with the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship, it partners with the Lagos State Government and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) to sponsor an annual environmental awareness programmes, “Walk for Nature”, an event held to create awareness and promote nature conservation and sustainable environmental management for the protection of Nigeria’s biological resources.
Also, in the paper, General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs of Chevron Nigeria Limited, Esimaje Brikinn, noted that beyond the awards, CNL is willing to continue its collaboration with relevant stakeholders towards biodiversity Conservation: “For close to 60 years, Chevron Nigeria Limited has remained an active agent of sustainable development and strong advocate of partnerships in support of the environment. We will continue to partner with stakeholders in raising public awareness on the importance of environmental sustainability and biodiversity conservation.”