A critical view on the environmental disclosure: evidence of Royal/Dutch Shell oil spills in Nigeria
This paper examines environmental narrative disclosures from a multinational corporation, Royal/Dutch Shell pIc, (thereafter Shell), of oil spills in Nigeria. Shell's oil spill disclosure in Nigeria includes voluntary social and environmental reports. Shell has been operating in Nigeria for over fifty years and the majority of its reported oil spills occur in Niger Delta. While these oil spills are considered 'external' phenomena, Shell encompasses both accidental and intentional oil spills within their public discourse. As such, the organisation is in a position to influence discourse of 'controllable' and 'uncontrollable' oil spills in relation to its operations in Nigeria. In other words, Shell interprets the nature and subsequent responsibility for what is considered an 'environmental disaster'. The bOlmdary of responsibility and the subtle and nuanced meaning of controllable and uncontrollable is contestable. Accordingly, uncontrollable oil spills are described as the outcome of sabotage and account for 98% of reported oil spills. The results of this study illustrate that Shell is in a position to dominate, enter and shape the discourse of oil spills via corporate public discourse.