Stakeholders Alliance for Corporate Accountability (SACA) is a stakeholders research and engagement organisation working to promote standards, project acceptability and environmental responsibility among the multinational oil/gas companies operating in Niger Delta and their stakeholders. Its activities are focused on the 3 areas of Stakeholders Consultation, Needs Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) as agreed by Shell's shareholders in Oxford in the UK in 2006.
On a daily basis, SACA monitors the delivery of promised development projects to host communities, including their design and usefulness, to ensure transparency, accountability and acceptability, and the impacts of the companies’ extractive operations on the environment to prevent environmental and livelihood damages that result in community protests and disruption of operations/loss of revenues.
Founder of SACA, Fr. Kevin O'Hara, examining the oil spill at Oya Lake in Ikarama
Founded by an Irish man in Nigeria and with funding from Ireland, The Netherlands and Italy, SACA focuses on 4 major community Clusters (over 35 communities) hosting Shell’s Integrated Oil and Gas Gathering Project (IOGP) in Gbarain, Bayelsa State, which is Shell's largest investment in Africa.
o SACA tries to investigate what makes host communities refuse to take ownership of development projects executed for them by oil companies and resort to harmful practices against the companies such as attacking the companies’ facilities. It carries out researches in the communities making up the 4 Clusters, to understand what works and what does not work in their relationships with the companies. SACA then discusses the issues observed with the concerned companies and engages them to improve the deliveries and remove the social bottlenecks to their operations.
o SACA promotes and advocates for international codes and standards with special emphasis on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This Report is significant with regards to extractive industries operating on or near indigenous territories.
o SACA advocates for ‘consultation and free, prior and informed consent’ standards which are best conceptualized as safeguards against practices that may affect indigenous peoples’ rights.
o SACA advocates for the “protect, respect and remedy” framework, which is incorporated into the ‘Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’.
o SACA promotes the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, and most importantly, o SACA advocates for the use of the UN Precautionary Principle for all the oil majors operating in Africa and the Gulf of Guinea.
SACA sees the extractive industries as highly damaging to our planet and, in the context of the increasing impact of global warming, want to see the world ‘s peoples breaking their dependence on fossil fuels and moving to the use of sustainable forms of energy.
In the meantime, however, SACA, in collaboration with other agencies including Agip (ENI) oil company, is promoting a new model for natural resource extraction. Before now, the model being promoted by corporations and States is one in which the initial plans for exploration and extraction of natural resources are developed by the corporations, with perhaps some involvement by the State, but with little or no involvement of the affected indigenous communities or people. The corporations control the extractive operations and take the resources and profits from it, with the State gaining royalties or taxes, and indigenous peoples at best being offered benefits in the form of employment or community development projects that typically pale in economic value in comparison to the profits gained by the corporations.
According to the Special Rapporteur for the United Nations on Indigenous Peoples, this is a model with strong colonial overtones, in which the indigenous peoples see their territories again encroached upon by outsiders who control aspects of their habitats and take from them, even when done with the promise of corporate social responsibility.
SACA is promoting a model that is more conducive to indigenous peoples’ self-determination and their rights to pursue their own priorities of development. This model will include genuine and enduring partnership arrangements between indigenous peoples and corporations, in which the indigenous part has a significant and controlling share in the ownership and management of the partnership enterprises.
In the end, SACA wants to achieve a win-win situation for both the multinationals and their host communities. SACA’s activities frequently help to restore stakeholders' confidence and sustain the companies’ “social license to operate” in the Niger Delta's difficult business environment, because if the communities are unhappy, the oil companies’ businesses always are frustrated.
SACA achieves its objectives using a strategy called Shareholders Leverage. It works with faith-minded and conscientous groups of institutional investors in the companies, especially the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR) and Church Investors Group (CIG) in the UK. It also works with Nigeria’s extractive industry regulatory agencies, especially the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and the Federal and State Ministries of Environment.