The purpose of this paper is to critically examine oil multinational corporations (MNCs) and their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in Nigeria. Its special focus is to examine the fate of oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region and the long-term negative effect of oil extraction as well as the benefits of the oil companies’ CSR/community development initiatives. This paper employs a qualitative methodology, drawing on semi-structured interviews conducted in three oil producing communities in this region and the oil MNC operating there. The study found that despite the high expectations of the MNCs by the host communities for development initiatives, the communities also want projects that provide hope of a stable and prosperous future. However, findings suggest that the MNCs have embraced development initiatives primarily to demonstrate that they are socially responsible and have not given adequate consideration to issues of sustainability. The implication of this study is that the agitations from the host communities indicate that they do not feel the CSR projects will lead to a social, economic and environmentally sustainable development. This research therefore adds to the literature on MNCs’ CSR initiatives in developing countries and the rationale for sustainable practice of CSR for critical environment.
Key words: Corporate social responsibility, sustainability, Niger Delta region, Nigeria, multinational corporations.
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