Environmental Management for Sustainable Development


Discuss the environmental management and sustainable development initiatives undertaken by UN.

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The paper focuses on the environmental management and sustainable development initiatives undertaken by UN. It is true that environmental performance of the organizations in oil and gas industry is significant to the environmental development.The operation performed by oil and gas industry is considered as the global operation as it covers the areas from Alaska to Australia and from Peru to China. However, it has also been identified that exploration of gas and oil has always an alarming impact to the global environment. There have many cases where the industry observed oil spills, leakage from oil tank and water pollution. Sustainable development as a discipline has engaged the attention of the governments, development practitioners and non-governmental organizations globally in their concerted attempts to imply how significant it is to the world.

The current essay examines the ways by which UK could achieve sustainable development in its emergent oil and gas industry. As mentioned by Roca and Searcy (2012), from the 1960s the oil and gas industries performed large-scale drilling, infrastructure development, processing and delivery of hydrocarbons. These activities have generated and continued to generate economic and social, significant environmental impact as well as other long-term effect. Oil and Gas UK today held dialogue with over 50 stakeholders on the industry’s sustainable development strategy. This also involves the view to incorporate their opinions into its approach in future. The primary aim of the paperis to provide an insight regarding the environmental issues caused by oil and gas operation and other external factors. It also focusses on the approaches applied by the organizations to achieve the environmental performance.

The oil and gas sector in UK has progressed dramatically over the past few years and it has made it mandatory for the industry to apply changes in an appropriate way; thus, it can be continued. Some fundamental principles in regard to sustainable development have been develop by UN bodies.  The principles are such as action of protecting the environment, protecting the life below the water, the life on and maintain environmental sustainable development. Some of the major goals set by UN bodies are such as strengthening the resilience as well as developed capacity to the climate-related issues and natural disaster in all nations (Lang and Heasman 2015). Conversely, the oil and gas industry is known as the largest industry in the world as the industry has earned the highest revenue, which contributes to providing energy the people around the world.

The need for the research arises from the increasing pressure faced by the oil and gas organizations to change the mode of production that is less harmful to the environment. Oil and gas operations involve both upstream as well as downstream activities. Nevertheless, these type of activities increase the risk but the organizations have been applying the strategy to protect the environment from the adverse impact on people (Chu and Majumdar 2012). In addition, the oil and gas industry experienced multiple hazards in the past. The industry had to deal with some controversial issues like “Santa Barbara oil spill in the year 1969”, “California and Deep Water”.

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Furthermore, the organizations in this particular industry were behind the major environmental as well as human rights controversies. In the last few years, it has been identified that, the industry has made the steps in advancing towards the sustainability. The organizations have started reporting their sustainability efforts. The major purpose of the essay is to identify the issues linked to the oil and gas production and applications that are the major causes for climate changes as well as global warming. The paper also focuses on the causes of the climate changes, global warming and factors behind the climate change and global warming.


The organizations in oil and gas industry have to go through multiple types of challenges. Apart from the challenges associated with the production, the companies also have to deal with the external challenges such as handling government pressure, attractive investment, improving safety standards(McKibben 2012).On the other side, the companies deal with the upstream and downstream challenges related to oil and gas production.

Dealing with the government pressure: The government of different countries under UN are introducing specific targets to reduce the amount of carbon. This is putting the increasing pressure to slash their emission.

Sources of Crude oil:Over the past few years, it has been identified that the sources of gas and oil are not renewable resources. The increasing use of gas and oil put serious threats on the environment and the world might face a scarcity of crude oil. In some developing and under-developing countries like Brazil and China, the use of crude oil is extremely high (McKibben 2012). This has probably been the reason, the organizations in oil and gas industry is dealing with the environmental challenge. However, these challenges cannot be tackled by reducing the consumption rate of crude oil. On the contrary, oil and gas are very essential to today’s society. Thus, necessary actions such as developing the regulatory framework, mode of production and other actions should be implemented to deal with this challenge.

Massive Investment:As mentioned by McKibben (2012),the current scenario of oil and gas industry in UK indicates that Britain is dealing with a biggest issue like crisis for oil and gas products for decades. This has resulted in poor production and in 2011 the overall production dropped to a large extent.

Adapting to change: This is another significant challenge faced by the organization in this industry. The recent changes in the mode of production have not been effective (Aaron (2012). This means, due to the evolving drilling process of different types of hydrocarbon and lack of skills, the challenge has become alarming for the industry across the world.

Upstream challenges:

The organizations in oil and gas industry are concerned with the challenges and opportunities. However, the countries under UN are taking the initiatives to deal with the challenges and implement the solutions.

Maximizing the production of liquid fuels: Presently,the globalOil and the gas sector is also facing some serious challenges regarding thedeficiencyof liquid fuel. The upstream sector of the industry requires a large production of liquid fuel. There is a huge requirement of increasing the production of liquid fuel in the upstream sector of the industry. In order to resolve the issues, the proposal of increasing Canada’s oil sand by 2035, which could be corresponding to 4.5 billion barrels each day, is supposed to be implemented (Jarvie 2012). It has the dimensions to produce more oil and make it effective.

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Several actions have been implemented by gas and oil sector to deal with the challenge of protecting the environment and preventing the actions that cause pollution. Although, a lot has been achieved; however, the sector claims that more is yet to be achieved. The long-term operations of gas and oil industry have large impact on the environment. It has large impact on the climate as well and it is the major reason behind the global warming.

Causes of climate changes:The climate change is generally recognized by the changes in the natural actions such high temperature and precipitation and other factors. In this context, Du and Vieira (2012) mentioned that the climate of the earth is variable through all seasons. However, the balance in the energy including incoming and outgoing determines the energy of the earth and it regulates the continuous state as well as average temperature. Other natural factors including“volcanic activity”, “solar output” and “Orbit of earth” that could influence the usual temperature of earth. Conversely, Jarvie (2012) commented that climate change could be caused by human activities as burning of fossil fuels,long term effect of oil and gas operation and conversion for forestry and agriculture.  The changes in the climate could pose a fundamental threat to the places, species and the livelihood of people. The United Nation Conference on Environment and Development had suggested implementing some advanced policies to fight climate change.

On the contrary, a hot debate on global warming and global climate change has been going on several years. As argued that Mitchell, Marcel and Mitchell (2012), the technological enhancement has mainly caused the damage to the environment and proved to be the major cause for the global climate change. Conversely, Ross (2012) opined that global climate change is phenomenon that has been in progress for several years. Some heated arguments put forward by the environmentalists on this particular issue. The scientists have developed multiple theories to measure the impact of climate change. Some theorists believe that global warming could lead to meeting snowcap. This could result in sea levels rise in the entire ocean. However, Wang et al. (2014) added that global warming could trigger another ice age. Nevertheless, people across the globe believe that these things are the part of repetitive cycle and database demonstrate the rise and downs in global temperature over hundreds of years.

Causes of global warming: One of the biggest problems people are facing right now is the global warming. As mentioned by Yusuf et al. (2014), the carbon dioxide emission from the fossils fuel burning the power plants. It is identified that increasing addiction to electricity from coal carbon, burning power plants unleashes a huge amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In addition, it has also been identified that the modern car culture and appetite for globally sourced products such as gas, oil are responsible for 30% of the emission in the countries under UN (Hilson 2012). As the population is increasing to at an alarming rate, the demands of more cars and these products are also increasing. This indicates that the consumption of these products are outpacing the discoveries of ways to lessen the effects. Thus, it can be mentioned that oil spills,land damage, leakage of oil from the pipeline, water pollution are also the reasons behind the global warming.  There are people who even go to the extent of saying “global warming is nothing but a scam”. They believe that global warming proponents could earn plenty of money through several techniques.

Furthermore, it is also obvious that global warming is becoming an urgent serious problem. People do not need to wait for the governments to resolve the issues. In this context, Wheeler and Beatley (2014) commented that climate change could be under control by human activities. Likewise, the global warming can be prevented by human actions. Each of the individual could propose an important solution for this particular issue. People should change their daily life style such as moving their thermostat down 2 degree in winter and up to 2 degree in summer, selecting energy efficient appliance while making new purchases and installing a programmable thermostat. However, Susskind and Ali (2014) commented that all nations should implement the same principles to prevent the control over climate change.

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Practical actions that UN should undertake to minimise the impacts on the environment:

The United Nations Council should implement serious actions against the increasing pollution of the environment due to the external factors. United Nation develops some particular factors necessary for the effective applications of environmental legislation.The enforcement of fundamental laws is considered as the crucial factors in their effectiveness. The organizations need to be committed to comply with the laws. The regulatory approach applied by the governments to control the environmental impacts caused by oil and gas operations are proposed by the principle of international environmental law.  One of the common approaches is the “command and Control approach” which is consisting of most common forms of environmental policies applied to lessen the environmental impacts caused by oil and gas operation.

The countries under United Nation should form some policies to protect the environment and prevent the challenge of global warming. Oil and gas development activities are expected to increase for meeting the necessity of industrializing countries. The activities can be performed safely with least environmental impact through a strong organization commitment. As opined by Wheeler and Beatley (2014), the host government needs to have a clear understanding of the exploration as well as production operation. The government needs be aware of the fact that how they could affect the environment.The United Nation Council should systematically integrate environmental issues into business decision with the use of formal management systems. The countries could integrate health, safety as well as environmental management into a single entity. The countries should understand all environmental components such as air, water, soil in decision-making and strategic level. The United Nations should establish some policies to prevent waste at its sources through pollution, prevention methods and effective use of waste materials. The environmental values should be evaluated based on the cost, value and risk. Furthermore, each country should focus on minimizing resources inputs and strivefor continual environment. In addition to all these, UN climate changes negotiation includes certain phases. The early phase includes some key protocol such as approaches to reduce the collective emissions by 5.5 % from 2015 by the developed countries (Wheeler and Beatley, 2014). Each country is to be committed to the particular figure. Thus, the countries should fulfil their commitments and they should develop the efficiency of compliance through “flexibility process”.

Approaches should be taken by the government organizations: The human enhancement of global warming is leading to the climate change, which is considered as the worldwide issue. In order to prevent the causes of global warming and climate changes, the government organizations need to arrange campaigns for promoting environmental awareness among the people around the world. The government companies should develop certain environmental policies to protect the environment. For example, the employees of government companies need to reduce the consumption rate of the goods such as oil, gas and plastic. Each individual needs to raise the concern of protecting the environment. The organizations should focus on the renewable sources of products such as solar energy and turban energy.

Individual approaches:

Individual actions to minimize greenhouse gas emission could help to slow down the climate change. As put forward by Axelrod and VanDeveer (2014), selecting the modes of transportation as well as building materials that are energy-efficient could save money in addition to reducing emissions. It is also evident that planting trees could both minimize the emission as well as maximize property value. Moreover, the government of each country under United Nation Council are taking part in the fight against the climate change; however, there is a lot more to be done.

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The activities performed by the upstream oil and gas industry undoubtedly enhanced our global economy. However, these activities have also caused unfavourable as well as significant impacts on the global environment, soils and sediments, groundwater and sustainability of terrestrial ecosystem. The above discussion helps to conclude that in order to address the global warming, people should significantly minimize the amount of heat-trapping emission that humans are putting into the environment. The discussion helps to state that long-term operation of oil and gas in the developing countries cause pollution to the environment that are the major cause behind the climate change and global warming.

However, the good news is that now with the help of the technology as well as the practical solutions, the countries could deal with this challenge. It is necessary to expand the consumption of renewable energy and transform the energy that is less dependent on coal and other fossil fuels. Moreover, countries could take the initiatives of vehicle fuel efficiency as well as develop other solution to minimise the oil consumption rate.  Furthermore, the United Nation Council should arrange climate change conference to each country that comes under the council. The council needs to build the support for national climate policies that should be maintained by each country. Lastly, the legal system could use its discretion to determine what form of regulatory approach should be the most appropriate one to respond to the specific environmental sustainability challenge.

Reflective Log

The coursework is determining the sustainable development for the UN. While conducting the research process related to the sustainable development in oil and gas industry, I have found several potential issues. My coursework depends on such identification of the potential hazards underlying the sustainable development process of oil and gas industry. In terms of collecting the relevant data regarding this specific subject matter, I needed to investigate the importance of such segment. I have found that due to the climate changes, the oil and gas industries have been facing the situational hazards. My coursework includes the extensive research on the subject matter. I needed to focus on the conceptualised ideas regarding the theoretical perspectives. It was quite helpful for me to fulfil the assessment requirement mentioned in my coursework.

The research process was quite promising for me. The research has been highlighting the vast areas of the oil and gas industry. Therefore, I needed to apply the relevant methods to conduct the extensive research on the subject matter. At the first place, I took help from the related articles, journals, books and the websites. I gathered important and relevant materials that can be incorporated in my coursework. In order to gather the primary information, I visited several oil and gas companies and communicated with the employees and the management personnel. However, it was not an easy procedure and I had to invest my knowledgeable skills to gather the relevant information. Finally, the association of both primary and secondary data helped me in constructing the list of major issues that the oil and gas industries have been facing while establishing the sustainable management. I kept the records of my collected information. My professor helped me to recognise the measurement of my performance parameter.

Conducting the research based on a particular aspect is not an easier process. It was a promising part of my coursework studies. I could avail the opportunities of improving my personal skills. Simultaneously, I came across some of the potential challenges during such time. During the communication with the higher authority, I was introduced with the corporate environment. I learned about the proper communicational skills that I need to maintain while communicating in the corporate settings. Moreover, I could strengthen my professional attributes during such communicational period. On the contrary, the major challenges I faced was associated with the vast area of research. It was quite difficult for me to analyse the list of issues without any personal experiences. In fact, I found the difficulties in gathering the updated information that is relevant to the current business setting. However, apart from these challenges, I faced the potential issues in completing such extensive research within a limited time constraints. I feel that if I could receive more time, I could probably incorporate more information for making an intact paper. However, the entire coursework was quite beneficial for me and I could improve my personal and professional skills in a significant way. In addition, I am much thankful to my professors and supervisors who provided enormous support during my coursework.

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Reference list:

Aaron, K.K., 2012. New corporate social responsibility models for oil companies in Nigeria’s delta region: What challenges for sustainability?. Progress in Development Studies, 12(4), pp.259-273.

Axelrod, R.S. and VanDeveer, S.D. eds., 2014. The global environment: institutions, law, and policy. CQ Press.

Chu, S. and Majumdar, A., 2012. Opportunities and challenges for a sustainable energy future. nature, 488(7411), pp.294-303.

Ciarreta, A. and Nasirov, S., 2012. Development trends in the Azerbaijan oil and gas sector: achievements and challenges. Energy Policy, 40, pp.282-292.

Du, S. and Vieira Jr, E.T., 2012. Striving for legitimacy through corporate social responsibility: Insights from oil companies. Journal of Business Ethics, 110(4), pp.413-427.

Hilson, G., 2012. Corporate Social Responsibility in the extractive industries: Experiences from developing countries. Resources Policy, 37(2), pp.131-137.

Jarvie, D.M., 2012. Shale resource systems for oil and gas: Part 2—Shale-oil resource systems.

Lang, T. and Heasman, M., 2015. Food wars: The global battle for mouths, minds and markets. Routledge.

McKibben, B., 2012. Global warming’s terrifying new math. Rolling Stone, 19(7), p.2012.

Mitchell, J., Marcel, V. and Mitchell, B., 2012. What next for the oil and gas industry?. Chatham House.

Roca, L.C. and Searcy, C., 2012. An analysis of indicators disclosed in corporate sustainability reports. Journal of Cleaner Production, 20(1), pp.103-118.

Ross, M., 2012. The oil curse: how petroleum wealth shapes the development of nations. Princeton University Press.

Susskind, L.E. and Ali, S.H., 2014. Environmental diplomacy: negotiating more effective global agreements. Oxford University Press.

Wang, Q., Chen, X., Jha, A.N. and Rogers, H., 2014. Natural gas from shale formation–the evolution, evidences and challenges of shale gas revolution in United States. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 30, pp.1-28.

Wheeler, S.M. and Beatley, T., 2014. Sustainable Urban Development Reader. Routledge.

Yusuf, Y.Y., Gunasekaran, A., Musa, A., Dauda, M., El-Berishy, N.M. and Cang, S., 2014. A relational study of supply chain agility, competitiveness and business performance in the oil and gas industry. International Journal of Production Economics, 147, pp.531-543.