Incorporating sustainable development principles into future direction of the petrochemical industries
Amusan, Adekunle Samuel
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Sustainable Development in simple term, according to the definition adopted at the World Council on Sustainable Development, is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In recent times, there have been growing concerns on the activities of the Petrochemical Industry towards the concept of Sustainable Development. The reputation of the industry is at the lowest ebb, especially in Nigeria. Public concern is overwhelmingly focused on the environmental and social impact of the industry's products and processes. The local host communities of the industry are consistently at loggerheads with it. Sustainability of the industry is being threatened. The linkage between social and environmental drivers, general public perceptions, and the processes by which the industry is regulated are intertwined and lack of its proper management is currently threatening the industry. There is a general public mistrust about the sectoral performance of the industry in line with the principles and practice of Sustainable Development. This perhaps has a major impact on the industry's growth prospects as it directly influences or sets the context for its license to operate and grow, its ability to attract and retain the highest caliber of employees with the range of capabilities it needs, its ability to raise finance etc. The current effort of the industry in the area of Health, Environmental and Safety Management has not yielded the much desired result in the area of Sustainable Development. Hence there is need to expand the scope of the engagement of the industry towards the concept of Sustainable Development. Several literature references were reviewed in addition to consultation with key stakeholders both within the industry and the host community of the case study considered as part of the research.This research study aims to find means through which the industry can do a front end loading of the principles of Susta1nable Development into the business planning process of the petrochemical industry. The way forward for the industry to engage positively in sustainability arena is by engaging in strategies and alignment frameworks that will help the industry move to a point of active engagement and maturity. A number of common themes in relation to the achievement of sustainability within the industry arose out of the research carried out. These includes poor stakeholder engagement; lack of effective sectoral reporting mechanisms and active engagement in deploying relevant training modules on Sustainable Development, and the need for the promotion of Sustainable Development as a concept throughout the industry and its entire value chain. These themes are packaged as recommended future strategic direction for the industry.
- Engineering