Dr Angus Nurse will give a talk entitled ‘Cleaning Up Greenwash: A critical criminological evaluation of Corporate Environmental Crime‘ as part of the Beastly Talks seminar series on the 14th of March.
The talk will take place in person at the Department of Politics and International Relations of the University of Sheffield, Room 109, Elmfield Building from 3 to 4:30 pm.
While many corporations embrace the concepts of social and environmental responsibility, numerous examples exist of corporations who claim to act in a sustainable and responsible way while at the same time causing considerable environmental damage. The activities of multinational oil companies in sub-Saharan Africa have been damaging both for the environment and for those communities directly and indirectly affected by their actions. Examining the actions of transnational corporations and how best to redress the harms they cause, this article argues that corporate environmental responsibility should itself be the subject of regulation to prevent and redress corporate environmental damage. For example, decades of oil exploration in the Niger Delta have resulted in pollution of much of the region’s vegetation, fishponds and drinking water. Problems include oil spills which carry the threat of contamination of the local environment and undermine farming and fishing livelihoods. Prosecutions of Shell in Nigeria have failed although action against Shell’s parent company in the Hague was partially successful. Litigation in London has also seen action being taken against oil companies establishing and reaffirming the principle that actions can be taken against corporate headquarters for wrongdoing committed abroad.
This paper argues that responsibility for environmental damage is both a corporate and social responsibility requiring innovation under both international and domestic legal mechanisms to address its harms.