Essay: Corporate Responsibility: Integrative New Approaches for Coastal and Environmental sustainability

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  • Corporate Responsibility: Integrative New Approaches for Coastal and Environmental sustainability
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ABSTRACT
In recent years and even currently, the rule entails focus on both Governmental Initiatives and Corporate voluntary practices with the view to curb industrial pollution in the study area (The Douala Coastal City and its environs including Bonaberi). However, several studies have failed to ascertain the extent to which these initiates and practices have been successful (Alemanji, 2006). This paper therefore bridges that gap by relating the state of the Environment in the area to corporate practices and proposes a completely new and integrative guidelines on corporate perspectives on Environmental and Coastal management. A more compelling case is made by analyzing the components of Corporate Environmental Responsibility, drivers, the benefits and limitations of Environmental Management Systems (EMS) implementation by the industries. The project involved two broad phases: The initial phase was an assessment of the state of environmental degradation in the coastal City of Douala and an acumen into the sources of pollution. This phase also involved a vivid investigation of how the corporations, the Government or both are acting to curb the problems of industrial and residential pollution in Douala and Bonaberi through institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks.
The last phase served to stage and develop on the new and integrative approaches or measures for Corporate Responsibility. The approaches, measures or guidelines are discussed in Chapter 5. It is the wish of the author that industries in the study area should integrate these approaches into their decision making processes if they must come out clear on environmental and coastal sustainability. This was a retrospective study through both primary and secondary methods. Firstly, from published materials, publicly available documentation, indigenous consultancy reports and published data. Secondly, primary sources such as observation, structured and unstructured interviews. Unlike structured and semi structured interviews where questions are prepared in advance and directed to the respondents, unstructured interviews take the form of a personal conversation on a certain issue (Halvorsen, 1992). Unstructured interviews were held with executives of some Douala based Companies -Austin Maritime Company, Guinness Cameroon S.A, Douala
Autonomous Ports Authority and the Cameroon Development Corporation. During personal conversations, the principal theme discussed was ‘industrial pollution, corporate response for Environmental and Coastal Sustainability.
The case study revealed that though much is being done by these Corporations in line with Cameroon’s institutional and legal and regulatory policies on environment and the coast, much still need to be done to develop the area of Corporate Environmentalism. As a matter of fact, the author discovered that Africa still has a long way to fully understand and adapt to the relatively new concept of Corporate Environmental Responsibility and its components. It is my wish that this paper and the theories or approaches discussed herein becomes a working manual by industries in Cameroon, Africa and the world at large in establishing a new Environmental and Coastal Sustainability Action Plan that will redefine in-built administrative tools for corporate decision making on environmental issues.
Key words:
Corporate Responsibility, Corporate Environmentalism, Coastal Sustainability, Sustainability Action Plan, Douala/Bonaberi industrial Zone.
CHAPTER 1
GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.1- BACKGROUND TO STUDY AREA
In Cameroon, industrial pollution remains a serious concern to the Government and society especially in the Urban Metropolis of Douala. The high rate of industrial development and population concentration in the Douala-Bonaberi urban district is a key danger to safety, health and the coastal environment. The issues and problems of land degradation are increasingly becoming apparent as the carrying capacity of the earth is undergoing accelerated decline. The locations of the designated industrial zones of Bassa (Douala) and Bonaberi localities enabled fast draining of generated wastes into streams, rivers and eventually into the Atlantic Ocean.
The streams and the Rivers Wouri and Dibamba were therefore very effective in removing the wastes from the immediate terrestrial environment occupied by the human population. However, with increasing population, rapid urbanization, industrialization and agricultural expansion especially in the Littoral region of Cameroon, it is obvious that domestic and industrial discharges will continue to pose degradation problems in this area. In the Douala and Bonaberi area, these wastes end up in water bodies from city pipes, spillways, into the land-water interface of the metropolitan city, with resultant damage to the environment, aquatic life and surface water for human consumption, crops and livestock. Many factories or plants in this urban area operate without existing adequate and efficient monitoring of their activities.
The national industrial sector has some 500 industrial units of which 60% are located along the Atlantic coast of Cameroon. Industries along the Atlantic coast of Cameroon include:
Food Processing, Textiles and Accessories, Chemical and Mining, Building and Transport Material, Paper and Pulp, Wood Processing and Agro-Industrial companies (Angwe and Gabche, 1997).
Despite the socio-economic importance of the industrial sector to Cameroon’s national economy, industrial pollutants like Aluminum emanating from industrial activities along the Atlantic coast of Cameroon seems to have inflicted a wide range of complications to safety, health and environmental quality. Long lasting exposure to significant concentrations of Aluminum can lead to severe health effects, such as damage to the central nervous system, dementia, loss of memory listlessness, severe trembling, Alzheimer’s disease, pulmonary fibrosis, lung and kidney problems (Lenntech, 2004). Streams which flows through the Bassa industrial zone and pours into Atlantic Ocean on the coast of Cameroon are highly polluted. The coastal layout registered the highest degree of Aluminum pollution in May’June 2000 (Fongwe et al., 2000). The population of the Bassa and Bonaberi industrial zone that depends on these coastal streams for drinking water might have fallen prey to excessive Aluminum pollution emanating from industries that interact with these aquatic ecosystems. The prevalence of abdominal infection and respiratory tract infection in the population of this community was quite elevated in 1999. Although these infections could be partly linked to other factors, Aluminum discharge from industries into coastal streams also aggravated the situation. In collaboration with international agencies and non-governmental organizations, the government of Cameroon has taken important initiatives to curb industrial pollution. From examining the relevant literature, however, it is clear that the overall effectiveness and efficiency of these initiatives is questionable (Alemagi, Oben, Ertel. 2006).
With this in mind, and given the current state of environment in the industrially concentrated Douala-Bonaberi neighborhoods, it is my desire to understand and redress the role of these industries in mitigation industrial pollution by re-introducing the theory of corporate responsibility as a contrivance for environmental and coastal sustainability.
It is the general purpose of this paper to scan the edges that have been formulated by these the industries through government’s legal and regulatory structure to control industrial pollution and to present and elucidate on corporate environmental components on the proposed sustainability action plan.
1.2- PROBLEM STATEMENT
The rapidly expanding coastal population of Douala has exerted an ever-increasing pressure on coastal habitats and resources. Coastal activities, such as industry, agriculture, sand mining, coastal urbanization, deforestation, etc., have altered the natural conditions and processes, degrading coastal resources and habitats. The effects have serious socio-economic consequences (Ngoran, 2014). Environmental experts at BOCOM International (a Douala based company specialized in environmental protection) raised an alarm about increasing rate of industrial pollution in Douala. The experts says this is due to the increasing concentration of industrial plant and poor handling of industrial wastes especially by companies that deal in petroleum, plastic, metal and chemical products.
Because Douala and its neighbor-hoods are the main industrial hub of the central African sub region, demographic explosion, poor wastes management and the ever declining margin between industrial zones and inhabited areas has resulted to severe coastal, environmental and societal issues. It is very common to find factories burping obscene smells and wastes dumped in the surrounding with scant respect for environmental laws.
Although according to United Nation Report, household waste plays an important role in pollution, there is sufficient indication that industrial waste alone is estimated at about 2187 metric tons per year in biochemical oxygen demand with a corresponding 48,000 metric tons per year in suspended solids in the Cameroon’s coastal city of Douala alone(UNEP,1982). Hence, it is fair to say this figure might have doubled or triple over the last decades. Heavy industrial water users produce large quantities of wastes products and they rely on watercourses to dispose of these (Oben and Oben, 1999).
Another serious problem is uncontrolled urbanization and poor waste management systems. This has contributed significantly to the deterioration of the water quality in Douala. Besides massive air and noise pollution, most industries operating in Douala discharge untreated and toxic effluents directly on open residential lands and into canals, streams, and rivers that end up causing widespread deterioration in the water quality and the health of the coastal ecosystem Domestic sewage and other wastes, as well as coastal and upstream non-point sources of pollution from agricultural and hazardous waste sites constitute sources of contamination of both surface and groundwater sources (Ngoran, 2014). Marine pollution is another issue that must be reckoned. Because Douala and Bonaberi lie on the Atlantic coast of Cameroon, the pollution of the ocean by humans on the Atlantic shoreline is prominent. Some of the common sources for marine pollution in the study site include land waste, oil spills, sewage water, invasive species and metal wastes from the factories. Marine pollution on the coast of Douala is very complex in nature and stems from land wastes, oil spills, sewage water, invasive species and metal wastes from mines. The oil spills ensues from the SCDP (National Corporation for petroleum storage and distribution) hydro carbon plants located on the coast and factories located in the Douala and Bonaberi coastal straits. The Douala autonomous seaport, which serves the needs of most of the nations in the central African sub-region, is also one of the largest in Africa and located in the study area. Millions of tons of fossil fuel waste, oil and other wastes is discharge from ships into the ocean on daily basis. As regards industrial pollution along the coastline of Cameroon, Oben and Oben (1999) argue that primary concern is that the high level of industrialization of the cities of Douala (Cameroon’s industrial capital) and its environs, with the inevitable generation of industrial effluents might lead to biological consequences in the coastal aquatic environment (Alemanji, 2006)
1.3- OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The goal of this paper is to increase corporate and government understanding of the perspectives and expectations for Corporate Environmental Responsibility. This goal will be achieved if the following objectives are attained. A corporation may not easily realize the goals of Full Environmental Responsibility, however it will be continually challenged to adapt to new knowledge, technology and stakeholder expectations (Jamison, Raynolds, Holdroyd, Veldman, Tremblett, 2005).
However, the Main Objective of this paper is to justify the purpose, need and practical techniques for the establishment of a new Environmental and Coastal Sustainability Action Plan based on the components of Corporate Environmental responsibility. The plan should lay out a strategy to compel industries to charge themselves with effective sustainable practices with in-built administrative tools absorbed in the business decision making process.
The main objective is broken down into minor objectives as follows:
‘ Identify and text the prevailing state and drivers of Environmental and Coastal degradation in the heavily industrialized Douala-Bonaberi Coastal Zone.
‘ To elucidate on the different constituents or components of Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER).
‘ Carry out a comprehensive assessment of Cameroon’s institutional, legal and regulatory framework vis-??-vis environmental policies, coastal management and industrial pollution.
‘ Uncover Environmental Management Systems initiatives in industries located on the Cameroon’s coastal zone and their implementation strategies, problems and successes.
‘ Tender recommendations through the new action plan titled ‘Corporate Responsivity, Integrative New Approaches for Environmental and Coastal Sustainability. The plan should serve as a comprehensive strategy and guidelines for an effective and efficient management of industrial pollution in the Douala-Bonaberi Industrial Strait.
1.4- SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
Asaah and Abimbola (2005) made a study on Heavy Metal concentrations and distribution in surface soils of the Bassa (Douala) industrial zone. They concluded that the pollution levels of these metals in the environment expressed in terms of the geoaccumulation indices indicate that the environment is highly polluted in metals like Pb, Zn, Cu, Co, Sb, and to a lesser extent in Ag, Cd, Fe, Mn, Mo, and Ni. This indicates that Douala-Bonaberi Industrial Zone and the littoral Atlantic shoreline is highly polluted with most of the metals well known to be highly dangerous to human, animal and plant. The study related the concentration and distribution of toxic metals in the soils of the Bassa industrial zone to urban effluents, associated with different urban activities that are mainly industrial. The polluted sites are closely associated with waste dumps, metal workshops, garages and metal industries. The metal-laden soil of this industrial zone probably constitutes a major health hazard to the local population and should be a cause of distress for government and private individuals.
This project is expected to offer guideline solutions to the rapid coastal and environmental degradation in the area through corporate practices. From water, land and air pollution to human health. It is my wish to use the information collected from this study to come up with an independent action proposal title ‘Corporate Responsibility: Integrative New Approaches for Coastal and Environmental sustainability’ (Case Study of Douala-Bonaberi Industrial Region, Cameroon) I hope this research will contribute in looking for another way in which coastal and environmental degradation problems in Douala can be understood and perceive in serious decisions by corporate bodies, the government and other stakeholders. The results will also be of great importance to other researchers and educational institutes as well as international organizations.
1.5- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
According to Canadian Environmental Non-Governmental Organization Perspectives (2005), in the publication title ‘Defining Corporate Environmental Responsibility the following questions are formulated to help the researcher evaluate corporate responsibility in the Douala-Bonaberi industrial region. These questions become the tools for analysis for corporate environmentalism. In this paper, the researcher has developed these questions to produce a set of new approaches or guidelines for environmental and coastal sustainability.
1.5.1- Institutional Framework
‘ What are Cameroon’s institutional, legal and regulatory framework vis-??-vis environmental policy, coastal management and industrial pollution? What are corporate perspectives of environmental management system and how is this applied to contain industrial pollution in the douala-bonaberi industrial zone?
1.5.2- Environmental Commitment and Awareness
‘ What does genuine environmental commitment mean? What policies should a company adopt and what actions can it take to demonstrate environmental commitment and awareness? (adapted from the Canadian ENGO Perspectives, 2005)
1.5.3- Beyond Compliance
‘ Does the company demonstrate a willingness to move beyond compliance by adopting best practices in its operations?
1.5.4- Stakeholder Engagement
‘ What are the necessary elements of meaningful stakeholder engagement? To what extent are stakeholders proactively engaged and their ideas and perspectives considered?
1.5.6- Measurement, Reporting and Auditing.
‘ How can we ensure that we are getting measurable material results from CER? What policies can a company adopt and actions can a company take to adequately measure and report on Corporate Environmental Responsibility?
These questions and subsequent answers will lay the foundation for the new coastal and environmental action plan for the study area.
1.5.7- Transparency
‘ How does a company meet its expectations of transparency? What policies should a company adopt and what actions can it take to demonstrate transparency?
1.5.8- Commitment to Continuous Improvement
‘ What commitment exists within the company to move forward in its environmental performance on a continuous basis? How is this integrated into all levels of the organization and its management?
1.6- HYPOTHESIS
Many studies conducted in the study area concluded that coastal and environmental degradation can only be redressed by corporate adherence to government’s instituted legal and regulatory mechanisms. My bone of contention is to prove that corporate entities can attain to full environmental performance through in-built business administrative decisions.
1.7- ORGANISATION OF THE PAPER
This paper is contained into six five broad chapters. The first chapter, captioned ‘general introduction’ presents an overall view of the research project such areas as introduction to the study area, problem statement, objectives, significance of study, research questions, hypothesis and organization of the paper.
Chapter 2 covers the broad literature review of the field of study and the case study. The following topics are covered in chapter 2: Environmental Responsibility and its components, the Douala-Bonaberi industrial region and pollution issues, Cameroon’s institutional, legal and regulatory framework ( Environmental Policy, Coastal Management and industrial pollution), Cameroon’s EIA, Environmental Management Systems ( EMS).
Chapter 3 presents the research methods employed by the author, including tools and analysis. Chapter 4 is presents the results and discussion while chapter 5 the proposed sustainability action plan titled ‘Corporate Responsibility: Integrative new approaches for environmental and coastal sustainability’. Chapter 6 closes the paper with other recommendations and a conclusion.
CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1.0- UNDERSTANDING CORPORATE ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY ( CER)
Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER) is defined as ‘Continuous commitment by industry to act in an environmentally friendly manner and contribute to overall environmental improvement while carrying out its business’ (APO, 2007). The concept of Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER) was first conceived in 2004 by the Pembina Institute and Pollution Probe at the Globe Conference in Vancouver, Canada to explore corporate and government perspectives on environmental responsibility1. Globally, just like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)2, the concept of Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER) is moving from a fringe consideration to a core business issue and a permanent part of Business Management. In response, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) once stated in support for CER: ‘For any company, giving a high priority to CSR is no longer seen to represent an unproductive cost or resource burden, but, increasingly, as a means of enhancing reputation and credibility among stakeholders-something on which success or even survival may depend. Understanding and taking account of society’s expectations is quite simply enlightened self-interest for business in today’s interdependent world (Holme, R. and Watts, P., 2000)
Corporations are beginning to respond to expectations of corporate responsibility by asking what is good for the environment, society and business, as well as how performance can be measured and evaluated. For some companies improving corporate environmental performance is simply ‘the right thing to do,’ while for others it is viewed as a strategic business advantage to increase competitiveness. These companies want to know what is expected of them so they can incorporate CER into their business strategies and become more competitive (Millar J., 1995).
Corporate Environmental Responsibility takes many forms, depending upon a company’s Priorities and perceived needs, which are influenced by numerous factors such as company size, products and operations. To effectively explore CER performance, several constituents are identified (ENGO Total Environment Centre ‘TEC’, Australia, 2001). This is however a pretty new concept in Cameroon like in many other African countries. As a result, industries conduct their operations in a haphazard manner with little or no compliance to age-long established regulations and policies. The elements of effective corporate environmental responsibility are summarized in the table below.
Table 1: Elements of Corporate Responsibility
ELEMENTS
CORPORATE PERSPECTIVES
Environmental Commitment and
Awareness The company’s perception of genuine environmental commitment mean and policies and actions adopted to demonstrate environmental commitment and awareness?
Stakeholder Engagement The necessary elements of meaningful stakeholder engagement? The extent of stakeholder’s proactive engagement.
Measurement, Reporting and
Auditing How corporations ensure its gets measurable material results from CER and policies and actions adopted to adequately measure and report on CER?
Transparency The company’s ability and policies to meet government and societal expectations of transparency?
Commitment to Continuous Improvements
The company’s know-how to improve its environmental performance on a continuous basis.
Beyond Compliance The company’s willingness to move beyond compliance by adopting best practices in its operations.
Source: Pembina Institute/Pollution Probe, Defining Corporate Environmental Responsibility, Canadian ENGO Perspectives-October 2005
Within these components, companies of all sectors, sizes and structures can choose appropriate methods, tools or actions to adopt and advance CER. At a minimum, it is expected that an environmentally responsible company will demonstrate some level of action in each of these components. The Pembina Institute and Pollution Probe provides a CER Assessment Tool which contains a checklist for each component. Corporate entities, the government and Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations can use this tool to judge whether a company is on the CER journey or not.
2.1.1- DRIVERS AND EVOLUTION OF CER
Over 20 years, CER has reformed and continues to rapidly evolve to keep pace with new markets in the global economy1. Several forces are driving the evolution of CER, including consumer activism, shareholder and investor pressure, and competitive advantage. Each of these is briefly discussed below.
‘ Competitive Advantage: Corporations are recognizing the impending competitive gain to be realized by responding to stakeholder expectations for environmental performance of the company as a whole or of its products individually. ‘Issues that many managers think are soft for business, such as environment, diversity, human rights and community, are now hard for business ‘ they are hard to ignore, hard to manage and very hard for businesses that get them wrong ‘ managed well, these issues can be a source of competitive advantage’ (Cook S. 2003. ). In response to the business risks of not adopting or embracing CER, many companies are exploring how they can be more environmentally responsible. Companies realize that failing to invest time and resources in understanding stakeholder expectations and addressing their concerns upfront can increase business risk, leading to project delays and tarnished reputations.2
‘ Shareholder and Investor Pressure: Increasingly, investors are calling for disclosure of environmental risk, recognizing that environmental risk often translates into financial risk. Investors do not want financial institutions lending money to ‘environmentally doubtful projects, for example, which might bring huge clean-up costs and reputational damage’ (Cook S. 2003). This call by investors and insurers for greater disclosure contributes to increasing environmental performance concerns within companies. For example, in 2005, the Carbon Disclosure Project, representing a consortium of institutional investors with $20 trillion in assets, requested that the FT500 (Financial Times) largest publicly traded companies disclose information on their greenhouse gas emissions.1 Likewise, in 2002, Swiss Re Insurance, one of the world’s largest reinsurers, announced it would withdraw liability coverage for executives that failed to adopt policies to address climate change.2
‘ Consumer Activism: ‘The environmental and human rights scandals of the past three decades have created consumers and employees who prefer companies that are doing the right thing'( Cook S. 2003). According to an Environics International global survey of public expectations of corporations, consumers say the role of business is to make profits and create jobs; however, the role of business is also to help build a better society. In the survey, 40% of respondents had thought about punishing a specific company perceived as not being socially responsible; half the respondents had avoided the products of a specific company or spoken out to others against the company. Meanwhile, consumers were just as likely to ‘reward’ a company perceived as socially responsible (MORI. 1999).3
2.2.0- THE DOUALA-BONABERI INDUSTRIAL ZONE
The Douala-Bonaberi Industrial Zone is located on the Atlantic coast of the Republic of Cameroon. As Asangwe (2005) submits, the 1976 official national population census figures put metropolitan Douala at 458,426 and with an annual growth rate in excess of 8% per annum, the estimated population of the area is at 2.5 million enjoying the fastest growing rate of urbanization in the Republic of Cameroon. Easily the most urbanized center in Cameroon, metropolitan Douala has witnessed extensive spatial expansion, which has provoked certain observable environmental problems on the lagoon complex and the wetlands. These are in form of poor land reclamation for expansion of urban sprawls, sand dredging, expansion of highways, wetland conversion for industrial infrastructure and development with resultant increased discharge of effluents. In spite of the limitations and restrictions imposed by the lagoon water surface and the difficult terrain of its marginal lowlands describing wetlands, it appears that the rate of interference would continue unabated. The effects of these has seen impaired water quality in the contamination of surface and ground water sources, public health hazards, wetland loss, subsidence, flooding etc. (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987; Population Reference Bureau, 2003; Centre de Recherche et d’Etudes en Economie et Sondage, 1994).
The Douala-Bassa industrial zone is the primary site for industrial activity in Cameroon (a country with 25 Million people) and has the highest level of industrial activity in the central African sub region. Manufacturing industries in Cameroon account for 17% of the gross national product (GNP) (Alemagi 2006). Industrial activities along Cameroon’s coastal zone cover about 60% of national production. Industrial activities along Cameroon’s coastal zone are concentrated in the Littoral province of Cameroon. As Angwe and Gabche, (1997) assert, a total of about 236 major manufacturing industries are located along the coast of Cameroon. Over 90% of these industries are located in the Douala-Bonaberi industrial zone.
These industries include: Food Processing, Textiles and Accessories, Electricity, Water and Gas, mechanical and Electrical Appliances, Chemical and Mining, Building and Transport Material, Paper and Pulp, Wood processing, Agro industrial and Diverse Manufacturing plants.
2.2.1- THE CASE STUDIES
Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) is the largest agricultural corporation with extensive oil palm, rubber and banana plantations in the littoral, southwest and west regions of Cameroon. Most of its process plants are located in the study area right close on the Atlantic shoreline of Cameroon. They produced both biotic and abiotic by products from farming practices that result in contamination or degradation of the environment and surrounding ecosystems, Pesticides and herbicides are applied to agricultural land to control pests that disrupt crop production. Soil contamination can occur when pesticides persist and accumulate in soils, which can alter microbial processes, increase plant uptake of the chemical, and also cause toxicity to soil organisms.
Austin Maritime and Engineering Company, located in Douala is involved in several activities including construction and pipeline engineering etc. The company directly or incidentally produces unwanted Construction wastes materials such as insulation, nails, electrical wiring, and rebar, as well as waste originating from site preparation such as dredging materials, tree stumps, and wreckage. Construction waste may contain lead, asbestos, or other hazardous substances.
Guinness Cameroon S.A as a brewing company uses as much as three times the volume of drinks they produce in water, and nearly all of what doesn’t become the finished products ends up as an industrial wastewater. Industrial wastewater is a term applied to spent or dirty water that is not solely from toilets, sinks, and other domestic sources. Most breweries will have a single waste line to the sewer and that line will carry toilet water, dirty water from the kitchen, and spent waters from the brewery. The three most common parameters of concern for brewery wastewater are total suspended solids (TSS), biological oxygen demand (BOD), and PH. TSS derives from grain particles, hop residues, coagulated proteins, spent filter media, and the general dust and dirt that may be washed down the drain during the operations. TSS is not toxic but it does add to the volume of solid waste produced.
BOD is a measure of how well the wastewater feeds microorganisms. Waste that is a good medium for microbes means that the receiving stream will have low dissolved oxygen, because, as the microbes eat the wastewater, they also deplete the oxygen. BOD is measured in mg/l. PH is a measure of the acid content in a water sample. The use of acid and alkaline cleaning and sanitizing agents in a brewery means that pH excursions outside of permit conditions are fairly common. Common hazardous chemicals in the brewing industry are corrosives (acidic and alkaline cleaning and disinfecting agents), poisons (sanitizing agents), asphyxiants (carbon dioxide, nitrogen), and nuisance dusts. Guinness Cameroon S.A also produces other forms of solid wastes such as spent grain, kitchen waste, grain bags, cardboard boxes, plastic sheeting, pallets, broken glass, etc.
The Douala Autonomous Post Authority (PAD) is the sole institution in Cameroon charged with ports operations management. PAD serves as the umbrella for several other companies operating in the port in the domain of shipping, manutention, maintenance, habitat restoration, and environment. The ‘Departement des Batiments, Administration et Habitat’ (the department of building, administration and habitat) is directly charged with wastes from the cleaning of port and harbor infrastructure, boat/ship maintenance etc. which contains harmful contaminants that may have toxic effects on marine wildlife. Cleaning agents include biocides, bleach, and detergents. The combined effects of these substances needs further study. Bleach and other chlorine containing chemicals used to clean harbor structures may have toxic effects on shellfish and fish, and reduce the diversity of marine biota in localized areas. The use of detergents for cleaning operations can form phosphate-rich waters that may encourage the formation of algal blooms which can cause oxygen depletion and may result in the suffocation of animals. Another type of Toxic contaminant is anti-fouling paints such as TBT which is toxic to non-target marine organisms. The adverse effects of TBT on marine life are well known, particularly with regard to shellfish and molluscs. Copper-based anti-fouling paints are less toxic to non-target species, but may still have toxic effects in high concentrations.
2.2.2- INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION
In the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, the concept of ‘dilute and disperse’ (Keller, 1979) was adequate given that the sources of waste and the quantity of waste generated were minimal. However, with the phenomenal increase in population, rapid urbanization and industrialization, it is clear that man’s use of the planet is producing effects, which are unacceptable and may possibly lead to such ecological instability that his very survival as a species is threatened (Dawson and Doornkamp, 1973). The land, seas, rivers and lakes are the eventual sinks for many of the harmful or waste substances disposed by man (Adham et al; 1997). Indeed, the coastal areas of Cameroon are not exceptions. These ecosystems act as temporal reservoirs for huge amounts of industrial waste produced by industries that interact with them.
Although household waste plays a greater role in pollution, reports indicate that industrial waste alone is estimated at about 2187 metric tons per year in biochemical oxygen demand and about 48,000 metric tons per year in suspended solids in the Cameroon’s coastal city of Douala alone (UNEP, 1982). A publication by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO, 1994) on the state of water pollution in Africa showed that some water systems in Cameroon have been contaminated by chemical products, especially pesticides. Some of these products, which probably come from industrial plantations mostly include: lindane, aldrine, DDT and PCB.
Despite the socio-economic importance of the industrial sector to Cameroon’s national economy, industrial pollutants like Aluminum, mercury, lead etc. emanating from industrial activities along the Atlantic coast of Cameroon seems to have inflicted a wide range of complications to safety, health and environmental quality. Long lasting exposure to significant concentrations of Aluminum can lead to serious health effects, such as damage to the central nervous system, dementia, loss of memory listlessness, severe trembling, Alzheimer’s disease, pulmonary fibrosis, lung and kidney problems (Lenntech, 2004). Streams that flows from the south, through the industrial zone along the Atlantic coast of Cameroon registered the highest degree of Aluminum and other chemical pollution in May’June 2000 (Fongwe et al., 2000). The population of the Bassa industrial zone that depends on these coastal streams for drinking water might have fallen prey to excessive Aluminum pollution emanating from industries. In another study conducted on Industrialization and industrial pollution as part of a sectorial study for the Cameroon National Environmental Management Plan that was formulated in 1995, staggering results about industrial pollution were obtained. This study was based on the survey of 147 industrial and small-scale processing plants and on the analysis of existing data on the waste produced by some industrial plants in the coastal city of Douala. The survey was based on the following parameters: Chemical oxygen demand, Biochemical oxygen demand, Suspended solids and Phosphate content.
According to the above parameters, the agro-industrial sector and the chemical industry contributes significantly to pollution. The metal works industry and all the various other industries contribute the least to this pollution (Alemagi, 2006). Furthermore, chemical variables (heavy metals, nutrients and marine debris) and biological indicators (plankton) portrayed that the Douala Lagoon of Cameroon’s coastline are heavily polluted by industrial effluents (Oben and Oben, 1999). According to Oben and Oben (1999), in the Douala Lagoon Zn concentration ranged from 0.94 ‘ 94.50ppm in the surface water samples and from 0.37- 53.39ppm in the bottom water samples. The high concentration of CU and Zn are above the acceptable level (5mg/l) of the Ministry of Mine Water and Energy of Cameroon. Pollution from mercury emanating from industrial sources along the Atlantic coast of Cameroon has been reported as well. As Efendene (2001) explains, mercury concentration ranging from 0.01 ‘ 0.15mg/l have been detected in effluent samples from Douala beaches and some potable water along the coast of Cameroon.
The table below explain identifies some major chemicals in industrial and household wastes and their potential risks to human health:
Table 2: Industrial pollutants and their potentials risks to human health.
Chemical of concern, Sources/uses
In soil?
Toxic to humans how?
Health effects
Arsenic
Pesticides; gold, lead, copper, nickel, iron and steel mining and/or processing; coal burning; wood preservatives. Pharmaceutical and glass industries, sheep-dip, leather preservatives, pigments, poison bait, agrochemicals, antifouling paint electronics industry.
Yes
Main exposure through consumption of groundwater containing naturally high levels of inorganic arsenic, food prepared with this water, or food crops irrigated with water high in arsenic.
Intake of inorganic arsenic over a long period can lead to chronic arsenic poisoning (arsenicosis).
Gastrointestinal tract, skin, heart, liver and neurological damage. Diabetes. Bone marrow and blood diseases. Cardiovascular disease.
Increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and pre-term birth
Asbestos
Mining and milling of raw asbestos (historical) for construction and product manufacture. Historical: releases into the air and soil around refineries, power plants, factories handling asbestos, shipyards, steel mills, vermiculite mines, and building demolitions. Current: repair, renovation, removal, or maintenance of asbestos. Gardening.
Yes
Exposure occurs when asbestos-containing material is crumbling or disturbed, releasing microscopic asbestos fibers into the air and dust. The main route of entry is inhalation, but it can also be ingested or lodge in the skin.
Some inhaled asbestos fibers reach the lungs, where they become lodged in lung tissue and may remain for many years. This causes:
‘ parenchymal asbestosis
‘ asbestos-related pleural abnormalities
‘ lung carcinoma
‘ pleural mesothelioma
Health effects may not emerge for decades, but lung cancer and pleural mesothelioma have high mortality rates. Historical, occupational exposure from manufacturing and construction work is a common cause.
Hazardous Pesticides
Herbicides derived from trinitrotoluene may have the impurity dioxin, which is highly toxic. Synthetic insecticides, such as DDT (now banned) can still be found in the environment worldwide.
Yes
Organic pesticides accumulate in the food chain.
Organic chemicals, including pesticides, have been linked to a wide range of health problems, but we tend to be exposed to a cocktail of these chemicals at low levels. Conclusive proof of cause and effect in humans is challenging.
Mercury
Electrical switches, fluorescent light bulbs, lamps, batteries, thermometers, dental fillings, mining (particularly artisanal/small scale gold mining), pesticides, medical waste, burning coal and fuel oil, chlor-alkali industry.
Yes
Main exposure route for the population at large is via eating contaminated seafood. For children is direct ingestion of soil.
‘ Central nervous system (CNS) and gastric system
damage
‘ Affects brain development, resulting in a lower
IQ
‘ Affects co-ordination, eyesight and sense of
touch
‘ Liver, heart and
Lead
Batteries, solder, ammunition, pigments, paint, ceramic glaze, hair colour, fishing equipment, leaded gasoline (vehicle exhausts), mining, plumbing, coal burning, water pipes.
Yes
Leaded fuel and mining activities are common causes for elevated lead levels in topsoil.
‘ Neurological damage
‘ Lowers IQ and attention
‘ Hand-eye co-ordination impaired
‘ Encephalopathy
‘ Bone deterioration
‘ Hypertension
‘ Kidney disease
Fluoride
Yes
but is generally
Immobile.
Usually associated with high levels of fluoride in drinking water.
Skeletal fluorosis: fluoride accumulates progressively in the bone over many years. Early symptoms include stiffness and pain in the joints. Crippling skeletal fluorosis is associated with osteosclerosis, calcification of tendons and ligaments, and bone deformities.
Dioxin
Including Polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (PCDD) and Polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDF). Waste incineration, reprocessing metal industry, paper and pulp industry, contaminated herbicides (a major source). Stored PCB-based industrial waste oils (often with large amounts of PCDFs).
Yes
These chemicals are
most commonly found in soils, sediments and
food, with low levels in
air and water Human exposure to dioxin and dioxin-like substances occurs mainly through consumption of contaminated food. More than 90% of human exposure is through food, mainly meat and dairy products, fish and shellfish.
Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer.
Cadmium
Zinc smelting, mine tailings, burning coal or garbage containing cadmium, rechargeable batteries (nickel-cadmium batteries account for over four-fifths of cadmium consumption), pigments, TVs, solar cells, steel, phosphate fertilizer, metal plating, water pipes, sewage sludge.
Yes
Cadmium in soil may enter plant crops (depending on soil characteristics, pH etc.).
Cadmium in soil or water used for irrigation can lead to accumulation in plants that enter the human food chain.
Cadmium may also accumulate in animals at levels that do not affect the animal’s health, but can affect humans consuming animal products. Liver and kidney damage, low bone density. These symptoms are known as itai-itai disease. First identified when cadmium from mining in the Toyoma Prefecture of Japan led to high levels of cadmium in rice, which accumulated in local people. Diets poor in iron and zinc vastly increase the negative health effects of cadmium.
Carcinogenic (by inhalation).
2.2.3- COASTAL POLLUTION
Marine debris, which originates mostly from industries, has become a problem along shorelines, coastal ecosystems and oceans throughout the world including the coast of Cameroon. Marine debris are defined as any man-made, solid material that enters waterways directly (e.g. by dumping) or indirectly (e.g., washed out to sea via rivers, streams, storm drains, etc.).Objects ranging from detergent bottles, tarballs, hazardous medical wastes, and discarded fishing line all qualify as marine debris (US EPA, 2004). Marine debris are life threatening to marine organisms and humans and can wreak havoc on coastal communities and the fishing industry. Pollution along the Atlantic coast of Cameroon is getting worse every day and it is largely the product of human activity (Alemagi, Oben 2006). Several square miles of coastal wetlands are destroyed on yearly basis. Coastal Pollution takes many forms. This includes:
‘ Bacteria and viruses (pathogens).
‘ Oxygen-depleting substances such as sewage, other carbon-based waste, and dissolved carbon-based material,
‘ Toxic substances such as:
1- Heavy metals, especially in carbon-based compounds:
‘ Arsenic
‘ Cadmium, Cobalt
‘ Copper, Lead
‘ Mercury, especially methyl mercury,
‘ Manganese
‘ Tin
‘ Selenium
‘ Zinc
‘ Uranium
2- Industrial waste products such as polychlorinated biphenyls,
Polychlorinated biphenyls are mixtures of up to 209 individual chlorinated compounds (known as congeners). PCB are either oily liquids or solids that are colorless to light yellow. PCBs is used as coolants and lubricants in transformers, capacitors, and other electrical e11quipment because they don’t burn easily and are good insulators. PCBs build up in the environment and can cause harmful health effects
‘ Toxic carbon-based compounds (herbicides, pesticides),
‘ Nutrients (nitrates, phosphates),
‘ Hot water discharge from power plants,
‘ Alien species through ballast water and other sources.
‘ Litter. There are three types:
a) Monofilament fishing line, fishing nets, and tackle.
b) Abandoned fishing boats, docks, and structures.
c) Small objects, including plastic rings used to hold packs of drinks, cigarette butts, and tires.
‘ Increased noise in the ocean which affects marine mammals and other animals. This is caused by the growing number of ships and oil rigs, as well as increased use of sonar by navies and researchers.
Besides socio-economic impacts, coastal pollution also has serious ecological sways on coastal environments. Coastal pollution is largely associated with bio-accumulation of mercury across the trophic levels. It also kills marine life, e.g. birds and other mammals caught in plastic rings and other substances. Large quantities of nutrients and carbon-based waste leads to plankton blooms. When the plants die, they sink to the bottom, decay, and reduce the oxygen in deeper waters, e.g. the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia (dead) Zone caused by Mississippi River runoff. Dangerous species may become common, causing health problems, and interfering with tourism and fisheries.
2.3.0: MITIGATION INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION IN THE DOUALA-
BONABERI INDUSTRIAL STRAIT.
2.3.1: INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE CONTROL OF INDUSTRIAL
POLLUTION IN CAMEROON
The environment in Cameroon is adequately protected from industrial pollution by legal regulations that have been formulated and adopted by the parliament. Legislation geared at mitigating industrial pollution is implemented by seven different ministries and authorities at the regional level (provincial, divisional, sub divisional and districts level). The Ministry of Environment and Forest has the bulk of the authority to implement legislation pertaining to the control of industrial pollution. Important responsibility relating to the regulation of industrial pollution is also vested in the hands of six other ministries, the most important being those of Industrial and Commercial Development, Mines Water and Energy, Transport and Higher Education.
Figure 15: Decision making structure vis-??-vis the control of industrial pollution in Cameroon
Source: Alemagi, 2006
2.3.2- CAMEROON’S LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK VIS-`A-VIS INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION
As Luken et al. (2002) expound, till 1992, the protection of the environment in Cameroon was governed by a combination of inadequate and ill adapted texts. The following laws governed the protection of the environment from industrial activities:
‘ Law No. 86/008 of 5 July 1986 on gas and water vapor pressure equipment
‘ Law No. 89/027 of 27 December 1989 on toxic waste
‘ Decree No. 76/372 of 2 September 1976 to regulate establishments classified as dangerous, unhygienic and obnoxious.
These laws were crafted in order to protect and provide security for human health and the environment. However, a closer look at the provisions of these laws shows that environmental protection was handled in a most haphazard manner. It also shows a clear imbalance in the objectives set, especially objectives which concerned the protection of the environment and prevention of industrial pollution. Again, none of these laws provided for attendant measures that would make it possible to effectively control industrial pollution using efficient technical facilities, or provided for other economic or taxation measures (Luken et al., 2002). In order to expunge these drawbacks and to meet with the provisions of Agenda 21 of the 1992 summit in Rio de Janeiro, the government of Cameroon took a significant step to improve the legal and regulatory framework pertaining to environmental management in Cameroon. The prime objective of this step was to strike a balance between the different facets of sustainable development (economic, social, culture and ecological). Thus, Law No. 96/12 of August 1996 now provides the legal framework for environmental management in Cameroon. Suffice to say, this legislation has a considerable number of provisions geared at controlling industrial pollution. These provisions have been summarized by Luken et al. (2002) as follows:
‘ Three fundamental principles: These include the Precautionary Principle, the Polluter Pay Principle and the Participatory Principle which play a vital role in combating industrial pollution in Cameroon in general including the Atlantic coast of Cameroon. The law gives provisions for economic and fiscal incentives as a strategy to reduce pollution emanating from industries in Cameroon.
‘ Provisions for the drawing up of a National Environmental Management Plan to define policies, objectives and strategies for a more sustainable development in Cameroon.
‘ Provisions for Environmental Impact Assessment are equally prescribed in this law.
‘ The law also has provisions covering industrial activity specifically. These are:
‘ Waste management will, henceforth, be carried out according to precise technical prescriptions and under the supervision of the Administration. These wastes will, at all times, ‘be treated in an ecologically rational manner in order to eliminate or mitigate their harmful effect on the health of the population, the natural resources, the fauna and flora and on the quality of the environment in general;
‘ Administrative control and monitoring of harmful and/or dangerous substances;
‘ Resonant and olfactory nuisances, which have either been banned or are being controlled by specific regulatory instruments.
The provisions of Law No. 96/12 of 5th August 1996 form the basis for an ecologically sustainable industrial development in Cameroon. Thus, a series of instruments have been ratified by the Cameroonian head of state to enable effective implementation of this law. They include:
‘ Law No. 98/005 of 4 April 1998 to institute a water regime and its enabling instruments which specify the conditions and restrictions concerning the use of water resources for industrial purposes as well as the conditions for the dumping of industrial waste in aquatic milieu.
‘ Law No. 98/015 of 14 July 1998 on establishments classified as dangerous, unhygienic and obnoxious and it’s enabling decree which calls for a study on the dangerous nature of the establishment as well as its impact on the environment.
‘ Law No. 99/013 of 22 July 1999 to institute the petroleum code and its enabling instrument which has several provisions on environmental impact assessment as well as a provision for monitoring the production of wastes from hydrocarbons.
‘ Law No. 001 of 16 April 2003 to institute the mining code, which makes it obligatory for the miner to restore the site to its original state after his activities and requires the mining industry to protect the various milieu in which they are operating.
2.3.3- CAMEROON’S ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT POLICY FRAMEWORK
The concern to protect the environment was made official by the government of Cameroon since 1966. In the industrial realm, the official document that was attached to the decree laying down the procedure for granting incentives under the investment code of 1990 made it mandatory that the assessment of the benefits of productive investments should equally take into consideration the impact of such an investment on the environment. The government of Cameroon’s efforts to protect its environment was accentuated after Cameroon participated in the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. This resulted in the creation of Cameroon’s Ministry of Environment and Forest and the drawing up of the National Environmental Management Plan (NEMP) for Cameroon. The NEMP gives provisions for policies, objectives and strategies that aim to deliver comprehensive sustainable development in Cameroon (CBD, 1997; Luken et al., 2002). Concerning the industrial sector especially, the NEMP provides for ecologically sustainable industrial development based on the use of clean technologies, the valorization of natural resources and of by-product and wastes. As explained by Luken et al., (2002), the ultimate objectives of this plan include (i) Environmental protection (ii) Human capacity building (iii) Creation of favourable conditions and (iv) An increase in industrial value added. The implementation of this ecologically sustainable industrial development policy include a programme of activities based on recycling of by-products, the optimization of industrial processes, waste treatment methods, the development of an industrial pollution control sub-sector as well as an environmental audit of the local industrial sector. In all, the plan of action has some twenty pilot projects. This plan of action, estimated to cost some US$ 7 million, was supposed to span from 1996’2005.
Effort made by the United Nation Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has played a major role in addressing industrial pollution along the Atlantic coast of Cameroon. As Folack et al., (1999) explains, this effort has occurred in a jointly sponsored project by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and UNIDO from 1995 to 1999. The project entitled ‘Gulf of Guinea Large Marine Ecosystem Project’ was aimed at sustaining the health of the Gulf of Guinea by ensuring treatment of industrial wastes, oil spills, sewage and heavy metals (Efendene, 2001).
2.3.4- CAMEROON ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESMENT
The principal regulatory framework that lays down the different categories of projects requiring an EIA is Order N0. 0069/MINEP of March 2005. The law classifies projects requiring an EIA into two categories. Category 1 projects are those projects that requires a simple EIA while Category 2 projects are those projects requiring a detailed EIA study.
Some examples of Category 1 projects that requires a simple EIA includes:
‘ Project of modification of installation that underwent a detailed EIA study;
‘ Social infrastructure like adduction of rural water and real estate projects with 50 to 100 apartments.
‘ Economic infrastructure like periodic maintenance of roads in rural areas, construction of thermal exchange centers and other combustible installation with capacity of less than 2 megawatts.
‘ Project requiring the reclamation of land from water on a lower scale;
‘ Aquaculture with surface area superior to 50 hectares
‘ Exploitation of community forest;
‘ Artisanal and small scale mining and Artisanal leather industry;
‘ Industries responsible for the transportation of forest products on a smaller scale.
‘ Industrial exploitation of mineral water.
‘ Installation for the repair of aircrafts.
‘ Installation for the repair of rail way materials
‘ Assembly of vehicles and machines.
On the other hand, Examples of Category 2 projects that requires a detailed EIA include:
‘ Establishments classified as dangerous, unhygienic and obnoxious of the first category as defined by the law currently enforce.
‘ Dams.
‘ Canalization, aqueduct and other installations for the regulation or transportation of water with daily output equal to or greater than 100000 meters cube.
‘ Waste recycling units.
‘ Installation for the treatment of domestic waste with capacity greater than 50 tons per day.
‘ Large hospital units, large educational and research units.
‘ Community and sports infrastructure and other civil engineering works.
‘ Economic infrastructure like construction and rehabilitation of roads in an urban milieu, construction and rehabilitation of roads and motorways, construction of thermal exchange centers and other combustible installation with capacity of less than 2 megawatts.
‘ Agricultural exploitation with surface area greater than 100 hectares.
‘ Water irrigation project with irrigation surface greater than 500 hectares with river water.
‘ Agro- forestry projects with surface area greater or equal to 50 hectares.
‘ Slaughter-house.
‘ Industrial fishing.
‘ Exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons.
‘ Construction or exploitation of crude oil by oil refineries and installation of gasification and liquefaction.
‘ Shipping yard.
‘ Programs and tourist industry.
Article 2 of the law prescribes the requisite contents for reports emanating from a simple and a detailed EIA study. According to this law, a report originating from a simple EIA study must comprise:
‘ The summary of the study in a simple language, and in English and French.
‘ The description of the current environment where the project is envisaged.
‘ A description of the project.
‘ A report of the field work.
‘ An inventory and the description of the impacts of the project on the environment including envisaged mitigating measures together with an estimate of the corresponding cost.
‘ – Approved terms of reference of the study.
‘ – Bibliographic references.
The contents of a report emanating from a detailed EIA study as prescribed by this current regulation must include:
‘ The summary of the study in a simple language, and in English and French;
‘ A description and analysis of the initial state of the site and its physical, biological, human, and socioeconomic environment;
‘ A description and analysis of all the components as well as natural and socio-cultural resources likely to be affected by the project, including reasons for choosing the site;
‘ A description of the project;
‘ The presentation and analysis of the different alternatives;
‘ The reason for choosing the project amongst other possible solution;
‘ The identification and evaluation of the possible effects of implementing the project on the natural and human environment;
‘ An indication of the envisaged measures for avoiding, reducing, eliminating; or compensating the detrimental effects of the project on the environment together with an estimate of the corresponding cost
‘ A program for the sensitization and information including minutes of meetings held with the public, NGOs, syndicates and other organized groups affected by the project;
‘ An Environmental Management Plan (EMP) comprising surveillance mechanisms and the environmental follow up of the project and, where necessary, a compensation plan;
‘ The terms of reference of the study including the bibliographic references.
Indeed, the EIA procedure laid down within the Cameroon EIA framework are the various steps through which a project requiring an EIA undergoes from proposal to endorsement for implementation leading to the issuing of a Certificate of Environmental Conformity (CEC).
2.3.5- CONSTRAINTS ASSOCIATED WITH CAMEROON’S EIA
-Inadequate scientific and baseline data
The EIA law of Cameroon fully dictates the administrative procedures that need to be followed in order to obtain planning permission. As Sondo (2005) explains, the use of baseline information ensures that identified and evaluated impacts are traced within the EIA process, thus providing an efficient method of predicting the significance of impacts through existing environmental conditions. However, insufficient or inadequate scientific and baseline data on the environment within most sectors in Cameroon will undermine the efficiency and quality of EIS and thus the whole EIA process.
-Incompetent personnel and over centralization of powers
Article 15 paragraph 2 of Decree N0. 2005/0577/PM designates the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Environment as the final advisory committee vis-??-vis an environmental impact study. The problem stems from the fact that there is the centralization of EIA review and approval in Yaound??, the political capital of Cameroon by officials who lack a robust mastery of the ecological, physical, chemical, socio-economic and cultural environment of communities where EIA projects are envisaged. The result of filling this committee with novices and incompetent personnel is poor performance, schism and approval of EIS that are fundamentally flawed.
-Constraints to effective public participation
Public participation is a fundamental component of the EIA process. As Wood (2002) explains, EIA is not EIA without consultation and participation. The European Commission (EC 2003) strongly advocates public participation arguing that it increases the accountability and transparency of the decision ‘ making process. The role and importance of public participation in environmental decision-making cannot be overlooked. However, looking at the current legal and procedural disposition regulating EIA in Cameroon, it is glaring that public participation is not statutorily protected.
-Inadequate human resources
One of the predicaments that impede effective EIA implementation in Cameroon is the inadequacy of scientists and technical staff or personnel. In a personal communication with a senior official at the Department of Road Infrastructure and Environmental Protection of the Ministry of Public Works it was revealed that only one institution (‘CRESA ‘ For??t- Bois” a regional center affiliated to the University of Dschang) offers a post graduate program in EIA in the whole of Cameroon.
-Lack of indicators to measure the progress towards Ecological Sustainability
Article 21 of Decree N0. 2005/0577/PM prescribes that ‘units under exploitation or/and functioning shall within 36 (thirty six) months from the date of signature of the decree carry out an environmental audit of their installations, accompanied by their Environmental Management Plan (EMP). However, as Alemagi (2006) opines, this law fails to lay down any ecological threshold against which the provisions for a corporate environmental management plan can be evaluated. For example, the law does not prescribe a set of indicators that can be used to measure and evaluate the progress of the provisions provided in the corporate environmental management plan. Indeed, evaluation will undoubtedly provide fundamental feedbacks that could be used to improve this legal disposition to tackle arenas with deficiencies and shortcomings.
2.4.0-CORPORATE PERSPECTIVES
2.4.1- ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (EMS)
An environmental management system (EMS) may be defined as a formal set of policies and procedures that define how an organization will manage its potential impacts on the natural environment and on the health and welfare of the people who depend on it (Andrews et al., 2003). As Andrews et al., (2003) explains, early EMS prototypes were introduced in the late 1970s and 80s in the United states as compliance management procedures, to assure that the various business units of a complex facility or multi91 site corporation maintained compliance with environmental regulatory mandates. Since the 1980s, many scientific papers have delivered pervasive evidence from cases where pollution prevention has been found economically beneficial, both for the involved companies and for the society (e.g. Allenby and Richards, 1994; Cairncross, 1991; Hart, 1997; Porter and Van der Linde, 1995, Sarokin et al; 1985). Thus, environmental issues came closer to classical business issues. Parallel to insights concerning economic benefits, and closely linked to them, environmental auditing gained wider attention in the United States during the 1980s (Sobonsky, 1999). This process was driven by tougher environmental regulations and with the purpose of avoiding environmental risks (Bell, 1997). As Ammenberg (2003) pointed, all these circumstances were important factors that contributed to a situation where many, mainly large, international firms established environmental strategies and tried to create management systems that incorporated environmental issues.
2.4.2- ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (EMS) IN CAMEROON
In Cameroon, industrial activities along the coast of Cameroon that constitute about 60% of national industrial production have affected the natural environment in a tremendous way. For example Angwe and Gabche (1997) estimated that a total of about 2.839.9991 tons per year of hazardous sludge ends up in the coast of Cameroon large marine ecosystem of gulf of Guinea. Today the new industrial mentality tends towards pollution prevention, the minimization of environmental impacts, the disposal of generated waste products, the optimization of consumption and the use of clean technologies (Hannas and Newman, 1995; Porter and Van der Linde, 1995; Getzner, 1995).
Fundamental environmental issues like chemical and oil discharges to the coastal and marine environment together with hazardous waste management issues have indeed dominated the government and corporate agenda in Cameroon. The government of the Republic of Cameroon has taken a series of commitments in the international and domestic arena in an attempt to uphold and protect the ecological integrity of Cameroon’s natural environment from industrial pollution. In response to these commitments together with external drivers, some manufacturing industries along the heavily polluted coastline of Cameroon have formulated environmental management systems (EMSs).
2.4.3- APPROACH FOR THE EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT MANAGEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION ALONG THE ATLANTIC COAST OF CAMEROON
To effectively and efficiently regulate the industrial arena in Cameroon from the pervasive and adverse impacts of industrial activities along the polluted coast of Cameroon, a collaborative strategy between all stakeholders is absolutely mandatory. This necessitates the need for stakeholders to establish a shared vision and consensus as to the fact that a holistic approach is imperative. Stakeholders are governmental policy makers, industries, international donor agencies and NGOs.
– Policy and Regulatory Framework governing industrial pollution along the coast of Cameroon
As Alemagi (2006) notes, the policy and regulatory framework in Cameroon is based on the traditional normative or command and control type of legislation. As Hillary (1997) puts it, this type of legislation is typified by the control of discharges to the atmosphere, water and land. Command and control, the author argues, succinctly describes the operation of such environmental legislation because while the legislation sets the environmental standards for a certain process or operation, – the command part ‘ inspection is necessary by enforcement authorities to ensure compliance to the standards ‘ the control part. Normative legislation is necessary. Indeed, it has fundamental principles towards the effective and efficient management of industrial pollution.
These principles include the precautionary principle, the polluter pays principle and the principle of adopting best available technology or less environmentally dangerous alternatives. It is therefore crucial for the government of Cameroon to address barriers and problems that hinder implementation of governmental regulations geared at reducing industrial pollution. The government needs to be more committed in implementing the following strategies:
‘ Appointment of competent personnel in ministries that play a vital role in promoting cleaner production within the industrial arena;
‘ Implementation of improved machinery and equipment;
‘ Institution of adequate monitoring;
‘ Establishment of a collaborative forum with different stakeholders;
‘ Streamlining of institutional responsibilities;
‘ Forging or advancing research partnership with local universities;
‘ Integration or incorporation of indigenous knowledge in EIA implementation;
‘ Decentralization of powers in the EIA process;
‘ Institutionalization of a proactive approach vis-??-vis communication and consultation with the public during EIA practice;
‘ Investment in capacity building to strengthen EIA.
– Voluntary Management Systems as tools for managing industrial pollution along the coast of Cameroon.
As noted above, normative legislation will continue to play a fundamental role towards ensuring an effective and efficient management of industrial pollution along the coast of Cameroon. However, there is a need to complement this legislation with corporate voluntary environmental management systems. As Hillary (1997) purports, environmental management systems are market based tools. The author contends that they are about getting the prices right so that more environmentally friendly products and processes are indeed rewarded in the marketplace. Environmental management systems are expected to encourage and accentuate the creativity and ingenuity of companies and thus direct them to improving the environmental performance of products and processing in a way normative legislation will not provide. Therefore, if effective and efficient management of industrial pollution is to be achieved in industries along the coast of Cameroon, it would be imperative for both the government and the concerned industries to be committed towards implementing the following proactive strategies. Under the provisions of voluntary management systems, the government assumes the:
‘ Provision of subsidies to industries having EMS and EMS components;
‘ Certification to an international standard for EMS by local universities, local authorities and major government research institutions;
‘ Creation of a regional and national forum where challenges with regards to EMS implementation are discussed and the way forward is suggested.
On their parts, the industries or corporations are expected to:
‘ Investment in capacity building in the realm of EMS by sending corporate employees to receive EMS courses and ensuring that employees whose duties could negatively impact the environment undergone robust education and training;
‘ Time allocation for EMS implementation
‘ etc
Chapter 3
METHODOLOGY
3.0- DATA COLLECTION
Data collected during the research was based on two principal sources. Firstly, from publicly available documentation like relevant literature, indigenous consultancy reports and government documents. Secondly, from unstructured interviews. Unlike structured and semi-structured interviews where questions are prepared in advance and directed to the respondents, unstructured interviews take the form of a personal conversation on a certain issue (Halvorsen, 1992). Unstructured interviews were held with executive staff of the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), Austin Maritime and Engineering Company Ltd, Guinness Cameroon S.A and the Douala Autonomous Ports (PAD). During personal conversations, the principal theme discussed was ‘Corporate Responsibility on industrial pollution along the Atlantic coast of Cameroon’.
In order to avoid bias in the information obtained during the different personal conversations, other discussions were held with two researchers from the university of Douala and Buea respectively. One from the Department of Geology and Environmental Science, University of Douala and the other from the department of economics and management university of Buea. Therefore, the views of many top personnel in each institution were represented thus adding validity to the data that was harvested during the research. However the greater bulk of data was received through secondary sources, in published materials and consultancy reports.
Furthermore, the decision to hold personal communications with these representatives was born out of the consideration that they had extensive experience in the area and were aware of strategies employed on issues of industrial pollution by these corporations. On this score, they were better placed to offer credible and valuable perspectives on industrial pollution in the industrially concentrated strait of Douala and Bonaberi.
3.1 – RESEARCH TOOLS
In order analytically understand information obtain from respondent on the subject of corporate responsibility on environmental and coastal matters, the researcher developed a set of tools to guide the study. These tools becomes the guiding approaches or theories for sustainable corporate management for environmental issues. The tools are defined below.
i. Environmental commitment awareness (ECA): Corporate perception of ECA and policies adopted to demonstrate it.
ii. Stakeholder engagement: Useful elements of general participation and the extent to which stakeholder ideas and perceptions are assimilated in decision making.
iii. Measurement, Reporting and Auditing: Steps taken to adequately measure environmental performance.
iv. Transparency: how business decision makers satisfy societal hopes and measures taken to be translucent in its procedures.
v. Commitment to continuous Improvement (CI): Commitments and provisions in the company to improve Environmental performance on continuous basis.
vi. Beyond Compliance: Demonstrated willingness to go perform overhead institutional, legal and regulatory acquiescence.
3.1.1- ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITMENTAND AWARENESS
The CER Assessment Tool below summarizes key indicators of the environmental commitment and awareness component of CER.
Table 3: Environmental Commitment and Awareness Assessment Tool
Indicators
Does not Exist Weak
Needs
Significant
Improvement Could Be
Improved Strong
The company incorporates environmental, economic and social performance into its vision and values. The company’s vision includes reference to the following concepts:
1) Environmental commitment in which the company fully embraces sustainability and strives to have a positive impact on the environment and society;
2) Material and energy management in which the company operates within the finite ecological limits of the environment;
3) Effective stakeholder engagement in which the company is fully transparent and accountable, with a demonstrated process in place to engage and empower stakeholders.
Corporate reporting readily provides an understanding of the company’s environmental, economic and social policies, and its codes of conduct.
The company sets goals and targets to meet its vision.
The company has environmental education and training programs for all employees.
The CEO of the company has made a clear commitment to sustainable business practices, including a plan to progress on objectives, before analysts, to media or in other public forums.
The company has implemented its plans for meeting its environmental, economic and social performance goals, including effective evaluation tools.
3.1.2- STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
The CER Assessment Tool below summarizes key indicators of the Stakeholder Engagement component of CER.
Table 4: Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Tool
Indicators
Does not Exist Weak
Needs
Significant
Improvement Could Be
Improved Strong
The company’s governing statements (vision, mission, values) reflect its obligations to its stakeholders in environmental, economic and social performance areas.
The company can identify its principal stakeholders and articulate the methods used to engage them.
The company communicates the results of stakeholder engagement processes and how stakeholder input and priorities factored into decision making.
All stakeholder engagement activities are guided by corporate stakeholder engagement standards and practices.
The company’s Board of Directors demonstrates appreciation of, and engagement with, representatives from the ENGO community.
Third party reviews are conducted of the company’s stakeholder engagement processes.
The company willingly engages with its most challenging critics.
The primary objective of engagement activities is stakeholder partnerships as opposed to stakeholder management
Outside of published reporting, the company shares meaningful information about internal processes, practices and performances upon request.
3.1.3- MEASUREMENT, AUDITING AND REPORTING
The CER Assessment Tool below summarizes key indicators of the Measurement, Auditing and Reporting component of CER.
Table 5: Measurement, Auditing and Reporting Assessment Tool
Indicators
Does not Exist Weak
Needs
Significant
Improvement Could Be
Improved Strong
The company regularly measures and reports on both leading and lagging indicators of its environmental, economic and social performance, including targets for improvement.
The company regularly reports on how its environmental performance objectives are integrated throughout its operations and management.
The company’s measurement and reporting is third-party verified by accredited auditors, independent from the company they are auditing and knowledgeable within the sector.
The company’s measurement framework and reporting methods are designed, and are modified, with the input of multiple stakeholders.
The company compares and reviews its reporting framework to assess against the content specified in external guidelines such as those of GRI or Stratos.
The company has audit procedures covering the audit scope, frequency, methodologies applied, and the responsibilities and requirements for conducting audits and reporting results.
3.1.4- TRANSPARENCY
The CER Assessment Tool below summarizes key indicators of the Transparency component of CER.
Table 6: Transparency Assessment Tool
Indicators
Does not Exist Weak
Needs
Significant
Improvement Could Be
Improved Strong
Company strives to meet environmental and social expectations of the society.
Measurement and reporting is done by certified standards and audit is conducted by external organizations.
The company attach relatively high importance to stakeholder views and societal demands and undertakes to adopt these at all level of business decision making process.
3.1.5- COMMITMENT TO CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
The CER Assessment Tool below summarizes key indicators of the commitment to continuous improvement component of CER.
Table 7: Commitment to Continuous Improvement Assessment Tool
Indicators
Does not Exist Weak
Needs
Significant
Improvement Could Be
Improved Strong
The company’s governing statements (vision, mission, values) include endorsement of a CI culture.
Employee training programs include treatment of a CI methodology.
Mechanisms and channels exist for employees to suggest improvement measures to senior management.
The company uses a management system approach to achieve continuous improvements.
The company measures environmental, economic and social performance against a baseline, sets targets for improvement and reports performance publicly.
The company actively engages with external stakeholders for input into the continuous improvement cycle.
3.1.6- BEYOND COMPLIANCE
The CER Assessment Tool below summarizes key indicators of the Beyond Compliance component of CER.
Table 8: Beyond Compliance Assessment Tool
Indicators
Does not Exist Weak
Needs
Significant
Improvement Could Be
Improved Strong
The company engages a broad diversity of stakeholders.
The company tracks and openly shares best practices and lessons learned both internally and externally.
The beyond compliance initiatives adhered to by the company:
Are developed in a participatory way
Are transparent in design and operation
Are performance based and measurable
Feature prescribed monitoring and reporting requirements, including a timetable.
Specify rewards for good performance and consequences for poor performance
Encourage flexibility and innovation in meeting goals and
objectives
include mechanisms for verifying the performance of all
participants
3.2- DATA ANALYSIS (RESEARCH TOOLS)
The set of questions devised in each tool or theory were intended to realistically quantify corporate accountability and alertness to environmental concerns in the study area. For statistical analysis, the author classified corporate opinions into five categories and assigned a mathematical value on a scale of 100 to each as follows as displayed on the table 9 below.
Table 9: CER Data Analysis
CORPORATE OPINION
CER VALUE
DESCRIPTION RMKS
DOES NOT EXIST
0% ‘ Environmentally Irresponsible Company
‘ Environmentally unconscious practices
‘ Serious Threat to the Environments
‘ No commitment and awareness
‘ No stake holder engagement
‘ Non-transparent practices, Poor training and attitude by management.
WEAK
20% ‘ Poor commitment and awareness
‘ Poor attitude towards the Environment
‘ Stake holder engagement poor
‘ Significant Threat to the Environment
‘ Weak policies, Poor training
NEEDS SIGNIFICANT IMPROOVEMNT
40% ‘ considerable conscious practices
‘ Meagre attitude towards the Environment
‘ Stake holder participation
‘ En-route to Environmental Sustainability
‘ Potential threat to the Environment
‘ Policies should be improved ,
‘ Poor training, could improve in the future
COULD BE IMPROVED
60% ‘ Considerable conscious practices
‘ Needs to improved attitude towards the Environment
‘ Stake holder participation more encouraged.
‘ En-route to Environmental Sustainability
‘ Potential threat to the Environment
‘ Policies should be improved
‘ Advanced training,
‘ could improve in the future
STRONG
80% ‘ Strong commitment to environmental commitment and awareness.
‘ Maybe adopting continuous improvement strategies sustainability.
‘ Special standards to measure, report and audit environmental variables.
‘ May be operating beyond legal and regulatory compliance.
‘ Transparent practices and perfect stakeholder engagement.
‘ En-route to full Environmental Sustainability
Table 9 above evaluates the extent of responsible commitment that industries attached to environmental and coastal sustainability. If a company depicts a weak opinion on a corresponding CER component or tool, then it is a serious threat to nature and steps should be taken urgently to redress the situation. That component or tool should be reconsidered and treated as a new theory or approach to environmental and coastal sustainability company may score different values on different components. In either case, this will help the company to identify areas where it needs to improve.
CHAPTER 4
RESULTS, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION
4.0- CER ASSESSMENT RESULTS AND ANALYSIS
The tables below presents the results of the CER assessment based on the CER components to determine the CER strength of the four corporations. A rather infuriating condition is revealed about corporate environmentalism as much as the study area is concerned. All four companies ‘ CDC, AUSTIN MARITIME, GUINNESS CAMEROON S.S and PAD divulged poor records on Environmental Responsibility. None of the companies above scored above forty percent in any of the six components or tools of CER.
4.1- CER ASSESSMENT FOR CDC
CORPORATE OPINION DOES NOT EXIST
WEAK
NEEDS SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT
COULD BE IMPROVED
STRONG
Environmental Commitment and Awareness X
Stakeholder Engagement X
Measurement, Reporting and Auditing X
Transparency X
Commitment to Continuous Improvements X
Beyond Compliance X
Source: Unstructured Interview by the author, 2014.
Table 10 demonstrates a disconcerting situation for the agricultural company CDC, scoring just twenty percent in an Environmental Commitment and Stakeholder Engagement. This suggests that the company needs to embrace new theories or approaches to be environmentally friendly in the future. CDC must also make significant improvement to measure and report its environmental problems as well as how such information is audited. With thousands of hectares of rubber, banana, oil palm etc., production and storage plants in the area, CDC uses thousands of tons of fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals in its operations.
4.2- CER ASSESSMENT FOR AUSTIN MARITIME
CORPORATE OPINION DOES NOT EXIST
WEAK
NEEDS SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT
COULD BE IMPROVED
STRONG
Environmental Commitment and Awareness X
Stakeholder Engagement X
Measurement, Reporting and Auditing X
Transparency X
Commitment to Continuous Improvements X
Beyond Compliance X
Source: Unstructured Interview by the author, 2014.
Table 11 above explains the CER-assessment for Austin Maritime Engineering Company Limited. It is sad to note that scoring almost zero in all the important elements of CER the company can be assumed to be a serious threat to the environment and the coastal habitats.
Management must launch a journey of corporate responsibility by first committing itself and creating awareness campaigns through its internal and external operations. Choosing appropriate tools to do so can ensure full responsibility in its operations.
4.3- CER ASSESSMENT FOR GUINESS CAMEROON S.A
CORPORATE OPINION DOES NOT EXIST
WEAK
NEEDS SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT
COULD BE IMPROVED
STRONG
Environmental Commitment and Awareness X
Stakeholder Engagement X
Measurement, Reporting and Auditing X
Transparency X
Commitment to Continuous Improvements X
Beyond Compliance X
Source: Unstructured Interview by the author, 2014.
Table 12 parades the CER-assessment for Guinness Cameroon S.A. By scoring 40% in Commitment, Awareness and stakeholder’s participation, it is important to note that Guinness Cameroon has taken important steps to pledge itself to environmentally good practices and stakeholder participation. However, Guinness Cameroon must also try to be transparent and stake to continuous improvement strategies.
4.4- CER ASSESSMENT FOR DOUALA AUTONOMOUS PORT (PAD)
CORPORATE OPINION DOES NOT EXIST
WEAK
NEEDS SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT
COULD BE IMPROVED
STRONG
Environmental Commitment and Awareness X
Stakeholder Engagement X
Measurement, Reporting and Auditing X
Transparency X
Commitment to Continuous Improvements X
Beyond Compliance X
Source: Unstructured Interview by the author, 2014.
Table 13 summarizes the CER components for Douala Autonomous Seaport (PAD). Scoring just 20% in commitment and awareness, it reveals that the organization is poorly committed to environment and little or nothing is done to encourage stakeholder engagement. Measuring, reporting, auditing and transparency remains a serious issue. Therefore, the company must adopt the new approaches of corporate responsibility for environmental and coastal sustainability.
CHAPTER 5
CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY, INTEGRATIVE NEW APPROACHES
FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AND COASTAL SUSTAINABILITY
5.0- CORPORATE ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER) takes many forms, depending upon a company’s priorities and perceived needs, which are influenced by numerous factors such as company size, products and operations (Pembina Institute and Pollution Probe, 2005). However, for the purpose of analysis, the author of this work have identified several components of CER loosely based on the work of an ENGO consortium in Australia that explored environmental sustainability.
In CER, several questions are raised to obtain diverse views or ideas on corporate management of environmental issues. These questions and the different corresponding ideas were developed by the author to represent a concise approach to environmental and coastal sustainability. The author submits that for maximum performance, these approaches must be assimilated into corporate decision making processes. The approaches or tools and key questions attached are summarized in the table below.
Table 14: Summary of Key Questions Explored per CER Approach/Component
COMPONENT Key Questions Explored
Environmental
Commitment and Awareness What does genuine environmental commitment mean and policies and actions should a company adopt to demonstrate environmental commitment and awareness?
Stakeholder
Engagement What are the necessary elements of meaningful stakeholder engagement? To what extent are stakeholders proactively engaged and their ideas and perspectives considered?
Measurement,
Reporting and
Auditing How can we ensure that we are getting measurable material results from CER? What policies can a company adopt and actions can a company take to adequately measure and report on CER?
Transparency How does a company meet ENGO expectations of transparency? What policies should a company adopt and what actions can it take to demonstrate transparency?
Commitment to Continuous
Improvements
What commitment exists within the company to improve its environmental performance on a continuous basis? How is this integrated into all levels of the organization and its management?
Beyond
Compliance
Does the company demonstrate a willingness to move beyond compliance by adopting best practices in its operations?
Although CER has been segmented into particular components in this report, it is a holistic concept, and there is a considerable amount of overlap among the components. For example, continuous improvement is implicit throughout all components, but it is also a specific planned process for reviewing and improving the quality of products and services. Similarly, transparency is an important part of stakeholder engagement and reporting, as well as a component in its own right.
Within these approaches, companies of all sectors, sizes and structures can choose to appropriate methods, tools or actions adopt and advance CER. At a minimum, it is expected that an environmentally responsible company will demonstrate some level of action in each of these components. At the end of each section a CER Assessment Tool is proposed with a checklist for each component. Corporate audiences can use this tool to assess where a company is on the CER journey.
5.1- ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITMENT AND AWARENESS
Environmental sustainability Awareness and demonstrated Environmental
Commitment are criteria for CER ( Canadian ENGOs Perspectives, 2005) To demonstrate genuine environmental commitment companies must walk the talk; that is, build Sustainability into their visions, annual goals, targets and plans, and have structures and processes to incorporate environmental considerations into all levels of business and decision making. Integrated environmental commitment means that all actions, large or small, are evaluated for their environmental impact. Applying a whole-systems approach with credible, science-based and ecologically sound criteria should be part of an evaluation mechanism. Corporations must embrace the triple bottom line, which means giving equal consideration to environmental, economic and social Goals and commitments, and allocating sufficient resources to research that supports these commitments.
An environmentally responsible company must develop a long-term vision of sustainability and understand its societal role in contributing to sustainability. Corporations must show a willingness to examine and challenge current unsustainable practices. The company should openly acknowledge and fully disclose the past and present environmental impacts of the company. Beginning with senior- level commitment, the concept and value of sustainability should be integrated throughout the company. Companies can promote environmental values through repeated educational programs and employee reward systems that empower staff to be creative and innovative on environmental initiatives. The staff of a company that takes a leadership role in environmental responsibility would understand environmental issues pertinent to the industry, be aware of regulatory requirements and company performance in these areas, and be able to disseminate best practices, internally and externally, to other companies and industries. Although there is no set path a company can take to become environmentally responsible, the researcher developed a check list criteria of the positive actions that companies can take to demonstrate environmental awareness and genuine commitment.
5.2- STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
More often, meaningful stakeholder engagement maybe constrained by the conception of who is considered to be a company’s stakeholder? Different terms could be used to understand who actually is a stakeholder. These include ‘affected groups and/or individuals,’ ‘interested groups,’ and ‘adversely affected parties’ (Pembina Institute/ Pollution Probe, 2005)
For a company to be truly committed to stakeholder engagement, it must be willing to include input from stakeholders at all levels ‘ global, regional and local ‘ in such a manner that is thorough and thought-provoking, and whereby each voice is heard and considered in the decision making process. A standard must be created that all parties ‘ business, indigenous, social and environmental advocates could agree on. Key elements of effective stakeholder engagement includes the following:
‘ Long-term, open and honest relationships must exist in which either party (company or stakeholder) could initiate a dialogue, rather than short-term, project/objective-related dialogues.
‘ Funding and resources to allow affected parties to expand their knowledge to make informed decisions. This could come from a third-party funding source e.g., it could come from government, which would tax corporations and create this fund, somewhat like Superfund in the US.
‘ Two temporally distinct stages of engagement and/or dialogue should exist ‘ one that addresses whether the project is appropriate and one that discusses how a project should proceed.
‘ Regulation should dictate the timing and extent of stakeholder engagement discussions.
‘ ‘Informed’ consent requires access to adequate information (and a role in determining what, and how much, information is necessary) and access to independent third party review, and scientific and/or technical advice or expertise.
‘ Transparent documentation of stakeholder concerns must exist to a) create a record and b) ensure that monitoring programs can be implemented (and reported) on these specific topics or issues.
‘ Transparent and informed community and stakeholder involvement in research and development should be supported.
The able below can used to tell when a company is actively committed to stakeholder engagement in its operations.
Table 15: Stakeholder Engagement.
COMPONENTS/APPROACH
STRONG INDICATORS
Stakeholder
Engagement
The company’s governing statements (vision, mission, values) reflect its obligations to its stakeholders in environmental, economic and social performance areas.
The company can identify its principal stakeholders and articulate the methods used to engage them.
The company communicates the results of stakeholder engagement processes and how stakeholder input and priorities factored into decision making.
All stakeholder engagement activities are guided by corporate stakeholder engagement standards and practices.
The company’s Board of Directors demonstrates appreciation of, and engagement with, representatives from the ENGO community.
Third party reviews are conducted of the company’s stakeholder engagement processes.
The company willingly engages with its most challenging critics.
The primary objective of engagement activities is stakeholder partnerships as opposed to stakeholder management
Outside of published reporting, the company shares meaningful information about internal processes, practices and performances upon request.
5.3- MEASUREMENT, AUDITING AND REPORTING
Measurement, Auditing and Reporting and the three pillars of quantitative and qualitative environmental performance analysis, which together provide corporations and stakeholders with the information required to accurately analyze current performance and to identify future actions. A company should gather measurable results i.e., actual outputs and impacts to the environment, rather than estimations, for the purposes of tracking, evaluating and learning from its efforts. In areas of high industrial or urban activity, it is important for companies to coordinate and cooperate their reporting to reflect the cumulative impacts of all the companies operating in a given geographic area e.g., within the boundary of a town or within a city’s industrial park. A commonly accepted and mandated set of indicators, The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), is developed through a multi-stakeholder process and can measure corporate performance on environmental, social and financial terms.
Reporting is an important means of communicating information about corporate environmental performance. For instance, reports designed for internal audiences i.e., employees, boards should tie directly into internal feedback loops and continuous improvement cycles with the goal of improving performance. These internal reports should also include a response mechanism to promote internal corporate dialogue and communication among all levels in the company. External reporting must be posted publicly and include full disclosure of environmental performance in a timely manner.
Also, a rigorous auditing and verification process that feeds into corporate and public awareness and understanding of environmental performance will ensure measurement and reporting credibility and promote greater transparency, the Pembina Institute and Pollution Probe strongly emphasized the importance of having the corporate auditing process verified by independent third parties. While internal auditing is encouraged to promote organizational learning and accountability, and particularly to feed into the continuous improvement cycle, external audits are required. Third party auditors must be accredited under a recognized program and have relevant experience to be proficient within the sector in which they are performing audits. Credible auditors must operate independently from the organizations they are auditing. An independent auditing agency for environmental compliance is needed, whereby external audits of corporate measurement and reporting could be funded from a regulated percent of a company’s sales revenue. For Environmental and coastal sustainability, measurement, reporting and audit is at the best when the following conditions exist in the company:
‘ The company regularly measures and reports on both leading and lagging indicators of its environmental, economic and social performance, including targets for improvement.
‘ The company regularly reports on how its environmental performance objectives are integrated throughout its operations and management.
‘ The company’s measurement and reporting is third-party verified by accredited auditors, independent from the company they are auditing and knowledgeable within the sector.
‘ The company’s measurement framework and reporting methods are designed, and are modified, with the input of multiple stakeholders.
‘ The company compares and reviews its reporting framework to assess against the content specified in external guidelines such as those of GRI or Stratos.
‘ The company has audit procedures covering the audit scope, frequency, methodologies applied, and the responsibilities and requirements for conducting audits and reporting results.
5.4-TRANSPARENCY
Transparency is essential in the decision-making process and in stakeholder interactions. Transparency is necessary to help build capacity among stakeholders to allow informed participation in decision-making processes. For instance, a company should provide interested stakeholders with information on how environmental, economic and social impacts and issues are incorporated into decisions. As well, companies must give feedback on how stakeholder input is incorporated into decisions. What policies should a company adopt and what actions can it take to demonstrate transparency?
A company transparent through the full, accurate and timely disclosure of information about its operations. Companies must be willing to share non-confidential information, including raw data, in an easily accessible manner (Global Reporting Initiative’s, 2002). Companies are also encouraged to openly acknowledge and fully disclose the past and present environmental impacts of the company and take full accountability for past actions. Companies that transparently share and acknowledge their history, combined with sincere and direct communication of their CER values, commitments and conduct, will undoubtedly increase confidence in their performance.
5.5- COMMITMENT TO CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
Continuous improvement (CI) is a planned process for reviewing and improving the quality of products and services. Commitments are made to constantly improve environmental performance in a company’s processes, operations and activities. Leadership in CER is shown by a company that strives to continuously improve, tracks its improvement and demonstrates how it has improved performance and reduced its environmental impact. To exhibit CER, companies need a long term vision, and need to show how they will sequentially and collectively move up the sustainability ‘ladder’ towards that vision, with benchmarks along the way. A continuous improvement ethic should be ingrained in a company’s corporate culture to stimulate organizational change. Commitment should be driven from the top of an organization through senior management and even at the Board of Directors level. Commitment to continuous improvement is obtain when:
‘ The company’s governing statements (vision, mission, values) include endorsement of a CI culture.
‘ Employee training programs include treatment of a CI methodology.
‘ Mechanisms and channels exist for employees to suggest improvement measures to senior management.
‘ The company uses a management system approach to achieve continuous improvements.
‘ The company measures environmental, economic and social performance against a baseline, sets targets for improvement and reports performance publicly.
‘ The company actively engages with external stakeholders for input into the continuous improvement cycle.
With executive commitment to continuous improvement in place, companies are encouraged to appoint leaders at all levels that can champion continuous improvement and facilitate the integration of improvement strategies throughout the organization. In addition, resources must be dedicated to educating and training employees. Company employees are an invaluable asset in the continuous improvement process, and companies are encouraged to harness this energy and enthusiasm in driving continuous improvement across the company.
5.6- BEYOND COMPLIANCE
Beyond compliance involves implementing environmental initiatives to achieve a Superior level of performance compared to competitors and peers. Beyond compliance is a tool that businesses employ to gain a competitive advantage and therefore can be used to encourage more companies to become increasingly responsible. Beyond compliance is a high benchmark that encompasses much more than simply achieving regulatory compliance and avoiding fines or penalties.
Companies should operating with a beyond compliance ethic by implementing practical environmental performance measures, such as pollution prevention, Eco-efficiency concepts, toxics elimination and supply chain management that reduce environmental impact (and likely reduce costs), but which are not regulatory requirements.
Beyond compliance initiatives must be developed in a participatory way, must be transparent in design and operation, are performance based, must prescribed measuring and reporting requirements, include a mechanism to verify performance of all participants, specify rewards for good performance and consequences of poor performance etc. Companies should enhance performance through adopting new and innovative processes and tools, as appropriate and relevant to their operations, such as external certification standards, incorporation of environmental externalities in performance measurement, and open sharing of best practices and lessons learned. Environmental Non-Governmental Organization representatives encourage companies to use full cost accounting models and life- cycle analysis to institutionalize a triple-bottom-line approach to decision making and management of operations. While many companies are beginning to use life-cycle analysis, few have made the leap to true triple-bottom-line decision making in which social and environmental issues are given consideration on an equal playing field with financial performance. Management should adopt an operating philosophy based on natural systems or environmental restoration and adoption of the precautionary principle in which precautionary measures are taken when an activity raises threats of harm even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.
CHAPTER 6
RECOMMENDATION AND CONCLUSIONS
The research was a successful attempt to examine and relate the components of CER to Corporate practices in the Douala-Bonaberi industrial zone which is affected with industrial effluents due to urban demographic explosion. It was enthralling to identify that some industries or corporations along the polluted Atlantic coast of a developing country like Cameroon are making efforts to embrace CER as a tool for corporate sustainability. However, it was depressing, to discern that the reaction to corporate environmentalism by almost all the case studies was too poor and less satisfactory. However, it should be noted that CER unlike CSR, as an in-built corporate tool is a relatively new concept in the world especially in Africa. Based on this, my recommendation is that these companies should follow the approach in chapter 5 to be efficiently performant in environmental management especially along the coast of Cameroon. My other recommendation is as follows:
Deeper research and training: It is my submission that more and deeper research should be carried in the subject area to identify other management issues as much as environmental management is concerned. Studies should be conducted to identify how each component or approach can be quantifiably measured, reported and audited. Other researches should focus on private-public partnership, local and regional capacity building and especially societal employment in the domain of environmental sustainability.
Creation of a private-public forum: There is a need for a concerted effort between public administration, economic operators and non-governmental organizations as much as CER adoption in industries in the Douala- Bonaberi industrial zone and the Atlantic coast of Cameroon is concerned. I recommend the creation of a regional and national forum where issues pertaining to the challenges of CER implementation are discussed and the way forward is suggested.
Industrial support in the form of incentives and expert knowledge: Smith (1997) and Bennett and Robson (1999) agreed that support should be provided to assist small and medium sized enterprises in their pursuit for environmental stewardship. We therefore recommend that the government of Cameroon, international organizations like the United Nations, environmental NGO??s and charities should be more involved in granting incentives, outreach and expert knowledge to industries that have CER. These incentives may take the form of tax reduction schemes, and partial funding for projects geared at adopting CER at the corporate level.
Information networks: The study also revealed that a good number of industries in the study area that did not see a need for a CER plan in their company and had scanty knowledge on CER. . On this score, we submit that it will be useful for industries to pursue a new form of training based on the new approach and the different components of corporate environmental responsibility. Relevant documentation in both hard and electronic form should be made available for a wider readership. Indeed, this will offer an excellent opportunity to disseminate information on CER. This propagation of CER materials via these mediums will undoubtedly bridge the gap in knowledge and awareness and will serve to enlighten those industries along the Atlantic coast of Cameroon that have a limited knowledge about CER. The government on its part should encourage industries that liaise with each other to share information on the merits of CERs. Pilot projects in this arena are recommended as they offer the opportunity for the industries and the government to communicate with each other to ensure that success is achieved with regards to CER adoption at the corporate level.
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