Sustainability development entails activities that promote environment conservation in the process of utilization of resources. The logic behind this argument is simply that when the environment is maintained, it leads to continuous exploitation without exhausting or damaging ecological aspects of it. Environmental sustainability is paramount in order to maintain productivity and at the same time preserve natural resources for the future generations. In recent times, sustainable development has gained momentum due to pressure from the green movement activities. This has led to environmental laws being adopted by countries around the world and international organizations like the United Nations. The spread of globalization and general awareness have made it hard to ignore environmental issues. Ever increasingly risks of global warming and its impact have led opinion leaders to strategies about how to deal with the issues (McNeely 1990).
Although global warming is happening across the world, some counties are usually affected more than the others. For example, it is leading to rise in water in the oceans and this has affected those countries that are adjacent to oceans and islands, whose land is being diminished by ever rising water levels. Other effects have been the disappearance of several species from the face of the earth with adverse effects on the ecological settings. It is in the wake of these challenges that conservation efforts have been recognized as everybody’s responsibility unlike before when they were generally delegated to environmentalists. Organizations are therefore supposed to adhere to environmental laws as they undertake their activities. In the environment conservation endeavors, a myriad of efforts have been made in terms of producing goods or production methods, which are generally eco-friendly (UNEP 2000).
There is always a high scrutiny in terms of environmental sustainability in the oil industry. This can be attributed to the fact that the industry is very profitable making billion of dollars across the world. However, oil companies due to the massive resources are sometimes accused by activists for not adhering to environments laws. Some environmental stakeholders claim that these oil companies usually have great influence on government and sometimes they maneuver through the law with the help of authorities. However, a recent disaster like Mexico gulf oil spill that was caused by B.P. has reopened debates about how the oil drilling business is being carried out. The BP disaster has brought considerable damage to the aquatic life and the society at large. It has generally affected the income of thousands of people who depend on the fishing industry. The environmental damage is irreversible to some extent and it will take years for the gulf to partially recover from the damage.
However, some positive steps have been taken towards environmental conservations. Companies are making efforts to conserve the environment in order to protect their image and for the social good. There are also constant evaluations of the organizations’ efforts on the environmental performance by independent bodies. These reports are then made public in order to applaud or criticize them accordingly. It is this scenario that has prompted most organizations to hire environmental experts to help them to deal with challenges. The governments have also fully functioning departments that regulate organizations in terms of environmental degradation.
Statoil Environmental Policies
It is under the above circumstances that we will analyze the efforts that are being made by Statoil oil Company on issues pertaining to environment sustainability. The company has won many pundits in recent years due to their efforts in the environmental conservation efforts. It has scoped various awards on the world level and they have incorporated environmental conservation in their principles. The company has set up long- and short-term goals. The company environmental principles are embedded on their desire to implement mechanisms that will generally promote environmental principles and at the same time avoid practices that can simply harm people in the areas they operate.
The company acknowledges the importance of maintaining good relationship with the local populations of the places they operate in. In order to achieve their agenda, the company makes sure they consider the interests of various stakeholders. These stakeholders include: the governments, suppliers, partners, environmentalists, and the local community. Statoil has embarked on this policy in order to incorporate every interested party in promotion of the common good. The communities always play an important role in promoting the Statoil brand and it is usually a mutual benefit for the company to look after their interests. The company has therefore participated in community in various ways including offering scholarships for the natives to study matters related to oil production. The aim of educating people from the local community is to give back to the community and also make sure that the local people are well represented in extraction of their own resources. Those people who come back to work in the company have their welfare promoted in various ways. This means that for the local people who will be working for the company, their well-being must be the first priority.
Secondly, the company recognizes the importance of being accepted by the local communities of the area they work in. It therefore endeavors to promote those policies that cater for the interests of the people. Although one of the primary aims of the company is to maximize profits by minimizing the production cost, they make sure that the desire for profits does not lead them to compromise on important issues. One of the ways of maintaining good relationships with the society is by conserving the environment. It is a fact that the eco-system is shared by all living organisms and they play an important role in marinating a food chain, hence promoting life. Human beings on the other hand rely heavily on exploiting their environment for survival. It is under this principle that the company recognizes that maintaining the environment is paramount in order to protect the livelihoods of the people who live in those areas. For example, drilling in the sea if not well done can bring disaster to the aquatic life with huge ramifications on the local community, which can be even economical. The above factors have prompted the company to invest in ways, which can promote environment conservation and at same time protect the people and the eco-system in the area (Chanllet 1973).
The company recognizes a relationship between the use of fossils by human beings and how it affects climate change. In the quest to combat global warming, the company is committed to doing more research in area of eco-friendly production methods. The company is therefore collaborating with various universities and other research institutes in order to come with better techniques. Some of the areas of research include the promotion of clean energy in terms of making sure most of the materials that are used are simply renewable. Secondly, it is innovation in order to promote clean technology, which is important for sustainable development. Lastly, focus is being paid to the area of extraction and consequently production, which causes a lot of damage in terms of environmental degradation. This is to enable engineers to pay more attention to these areas in order to reduce the damage that is happening albeit until new technologies are developed and implemented (U.S. Agency for International Development 1994).
The company is also committed to making sure it does not relinquish its position as the most eco-friendly oil company in the world. It is therefore committed to following its initial steps in order to combat global warming and other climate challenges. The success it has gained for the last ten years has propelled it in the right direction in terms of environment conservation and at the same time maintaining good returns in terms of revenue. It is under these circumstances that the company is committed to making their environmental conservation strategies a major policy. In recent years, the company has made tremendous steps in the environmental conservation efforts. This has made the company implant the programs, which are tailored to boost sustainable development projects across its entire line of production. Some of the efforts are discussed here below (Dudley & Gujja 1999).
In their Sleipner gas processing plant, recent technology has been successfully used in dealing with the release of CO2 in to the atmosphere. The plant is the first in the world to come with the technology of treating CO2 to prevent emission, which causes global warming. The plant extracts CO2 gas and the rest of the gas is then sold in Germany and the United Kingdom. The CO2 gas extracted is then injected into Utsira formation. This is an underground place around a thousand meters below sea bed and it makes sure the gas cannot escape into the atmosphere. After injection of the gas, the company always monitors the salutation, which is already a big achievement in the field of global warming prevention (UN. Economic and Social Council 2006).
The company has also embarked on other methods of dealing with CO2 emissions by making sure there is energy efficiency. The logic behind that is the fact that if all energy produced is utilized, then there will be no excessive energy produced, meaning less CO2 and other toxic gas will be produced. The Hywind, a large wind turbine, has been installed by the company to provide energy for their production. The advantage of this is the fact that it is a renewable energy resource, which is also eco-friendly. Lastly, investment in technology has been successful in some instances with positive implications on the conservation efforts. One of the most significant improvements has been made in the hydrogen section where breakthrough in the electrolysis has made it possible to make hydrogen and oxygen from water (Maulk & Grohmann 2012)
In their strategy of low carbon emission, the company has invested heavily in designing more efficient machines that release less carbon. This includes designing turbines that consume less energy and at the same time are more efficient. They have also embarked in looking for ways in which heat waste can be used instead of being discarded. One other notable invention is adaptation of electricity grind instead of using the common turbines, which emit more carbon dioxide. This has been fully implemented in the Norwegian shelf with great success. The electrification of the drilling site has cut carbon dioxide by thousands of tones. Unfortunately, this method is generally expensive due to logistics involved in construction of this power system and subsequent maintenance (Al-attar 1997).
The company has also introduced a monitoring platform where there have been set indicators in order to record sensitive issues to the environment. Some other things that are closely monitored include nitrogen and carbon dioxide emissions, oil spill, and recovery rate of waste materials that are not hazardous. The data usually helps the policy makers of the organization to come up with best methods of dealing with those challenges. These efforts by the company demonstrate their commitments to implementing policies that are aimed at sustainable development. In fact, there is evidence that their efforts are paying off. For example, in 2011 the volume of spills decreased 24 cubic meters in the previous year to around 9 cubic meters. In the same period, carbon dioxide emissions decreased by about half a million tons while nitrogen by around six hundred tons. The energy consumption, which was also a major area where the company concentrated on, decreased by around 1TWh. Also, notable improvement was in recovery of non-hazardous waste, which increased by thirteen percent.
Shipping contributes over 90 percent of goods transported across the world while releasing a mere three percent of emissions. This on its own is a great conservation effort; however, the company is taking steps in cutting down these emissions. One of the ways is their heavy investments in modification of the tankers that transport their oil to various destinations. In order to cut nitrogen, sulfur, and carbon dioxide emission to the atmosphere, the company has embarked on modification their tanks from use of oil entirely to duel use. This means that the tanks can now use gas and heavy fuels to cut these gases emissions that are heavily associated with heavy fuels. This method when fully implemented will reduce carbon dioxide emission by about a quarter, nitrogen by almost ninety percent, and eliminate sulfur completely. Technology is also been adapted to reduce the fouling of ship, which generally leads to reduced speed and more emission. When this issue is adequately addressed, it will lead to significant reductions in the gas emissions (Birkeland 2012).
The companies also invest in the study of the biodiversity of the area they work in. This is to help them understand the logistics and the best way to conserve it. They have collaborated with other companies like Shell in order to intensify research on these ecological areas. They also do not venture into areas that have been marked as protected areas in order to avoid damages. Statoil is also an advocate for creation of a world data base concerning protected areas in order for all organizations to have prior information about conservation. The company has taken the initiative by producing an atlas about the entire Tanzania coast as they embark on oil exploration. The areas are marked in order to identify breeding sites of aquatic species like turtle and also protect natural vegetations, which are common on the Tanzanian coast. Their company also realized that not all parts of ecological importance have been identified and it is their moral duty to help in identifying them. This has prompted the company to collaborate with Oxford University in carrying out different ecological studies across the globe. The company also embarks on environmental monitoring exercise from time to time in order to evaluate their efforts and the impacts they are havening on the environment in question (Stanovnik 1987).
Usage of Natural Gas
The issue of usage of natural gas is also another area where the company has put considerable resources for the implementation. This initiative stands out because of its importance in controlling emissions due to its advantage compared to other sources of energy. The natural gas emits less carbon dioxide compared to other sources and it is also significantly cheaper. The gas is also abundantly available and it has promising future when finally the scientists fully develop the gas capture technology. The company is also campaigning for replacement of coal with natural gas as a way of powering plants. Their arguments are based on the fact that it is cheaper and better in terms of polluting the environment. Their vision is that all gas plants can be incorporated with renewable energy resources such as wind or sun due to the convertibility. If the wind is not blowing, it only takes few moments to put on the natural gas system (Ghode 2007).
The natural gas can also play an important part in transport sector. The company argues that in the transport sector gas and electricity vehicles can be used with great impact on the environment due to reduced emissions. The natural gas can be combined with biomass to a great effect in heating homes across the world. The company is also prepared to take part in exploration and subsequent extraction of shale gas in a more eco-friendly manner.
All the above efforts play an integral part in environmental conservation, which is paramount for sustainable development. In my view, the company has done excellent job in trying to deal with environmental challenges. However, we understand that it is almost impossible to completely eliminate environmental degradation in any natural resource endeavors. That does not necessarily mean that Statoil has reached the pinnacle of conservation because this is a continuous process. This can be attributed to the fact that environmental conservation is highly influenced by the technology available. The nature of technology is simply that it is dynamic and it ought to change with time. It is therefore important that the company continues to upgrade the technology in their system in order to minimize ecological damages and maintain their sustainable development culture (Stock 2005).
The company has therefore embarked on innovation and technological improvements as it ventures in exploration of shale gas, which stakeholders claim is not variable due to environmental and economical cost. However, the company believes that with ever increasing demand for oil in the world and ever diminishing convectional oil reserves, the exploration of tight gas is a necessity rather than a choice. This does not mean the company is interested in undertaking the exploration and extraction at the expense of conservation, but rather it is prepared for a new challenge to deal with environmental challenges and they are willing to commit considerable resources in order to come up with eco-friendly technology. It is under this circumstance that the company has put aside money for research of shale gas and at same time set targets for the next twenty years on how to reduce carbon emissions. The company understands the enormous challenge posed by shale gas exploration and extraction due to the fact that technology has not developed fully. In order to tackle these challenges, the company has taken realistic approach by partnering with other companies in funding research work. It has been a culture of the company to collaborate with their competitors when it comes to conservation for the sake of promoting common good. This can be attributed to the fact the company understands the importance of sustainable development for the well-being of the humanity at large (Ireland 1996).
In conclusion, we can argue that the company has put up measures of conserving environment, which are commendable. Their effort of investment in future technology shows their commitments to preserve the environment. This policy has been in the company tradition for over two decades and its success has been manifested in various ways. The company continues to lead in terms of environmental conservation and this has won them recognition from world environmental bodies. The fact that they have been pioneers in various projects like use of windmills to power their plants and pumping of carbon dioxide to the ground to prevent pollution shows the success of their polices. If other companies can join together and invest in funding research of sustainable development, it can lead to great reductions in the environmental degradation. This is simply because practical evidence from Statoil has shown that commitments can lead to sustainable development.