1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Markets, Business and Regulation (2000 - 2009) | Event: Public-Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development


Public-Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development

  • Date: 15 Aug 2006
  • Location: Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
  • Speakers: Søren Petersen, Darryl Reed, Ananya Reed, Peter Utting, Ann Zammit, Uwafiokun Idemudia, Shaheen Rafi Khan, Sofie Michaelsen
  • Project Title: Business and Poverty Reduction

Idemudia - Corporate Partnerships and Community Development in the Nigerian Oil Industry


The volatile nature of corporate-community relations, which has meant significant loss in oil revenue for government and decline in corporate profit for oil multinational (MNCs), has elevated the obtaining of a ‘social licence to operate’ from the periphery to the heart of strategic business thinking within the Nigerian oil industry. As a result, oil multinationals (MNCs) have increasingly responded to this challenge by adopting partnership strategies as a means of contributing to community development, building a mutually beneficial relationship with local communities and reinventing themselves as a force for good in their host communities. This paper critically examines the different community development partnership (CDPs) initiatives’ undertaken by Exxon Mobil and Total within their corporate-community relations strategy in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Analysis suggests that CDPs that are ‘bottom up’ have more positive impact on host community development than those that are ‘top-down’ in nature. However, neither has had any real impact on how the core business activities of oil MNCs are undertaken or have they ameliorated the negative social and environmental impact of oil production on host communities. Consequently, the paper argues that while partnerships have the potential to improve the impact of business affirmative duties on host community development, the failure to integrate negative injunction duties into such partnerships undermines its contributions to host community development. The paper concludes by exploring the implications for partnerships’ initiatives and business-society relations in developing countries....

Key words: Corporate Partnership, Community Development, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainable Development, Oil Multinationals