Target: President, CEO and Executive Director of Soco International, Edward Story
Goal: Praise company for displaying responsible business practices by halting oil extraction in National Park
One of the most ecologically diverse places on earth and home to more than 200 endangered mountain gorillas, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has also been the stage of an oil hunt by multiple international firms. After a complaint was filed by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that accused the company of violating good business practice guidelines, the U.K.-based Soco International agreed not to commit to any further exploration of the park without permission from both UNESCO and the DRC government.
The massive park and world heritage site is home to hippos, elephants, chimpanzees, nearly half the world’s mountain gorillas and tens of thousands of people. Virunga National Park is also home to Lake Albert, which an estimated 50,000 families depend on for fishing.
Studies commissioned by WWF support the idea that through “peaceful” industries, such as hydropower generation, fishing and ecotourism, up to 45,000 people could be supported by the park. However, oil extraction poses a threat to all three of these industries. Another concern over potential oil extraction in the park is the high level of conflict it is already plagued with and the potential for a rise in violence over oil extraction projects.
While Soco International is not the only oil company interested in Virunga National Park, nor the only company to bow out of exploration there, it stands as a model for responsible business behavior. Sign this petition to applaud Soco International for making the responsible decision to halt exploration in this vital habitat.
Dear Mr. Story,
Virunga National Park is one of the most ecologically diverse places in the world. It is home to over 200 endangered gorillas, hippos, elephants, chimpanzees and tens of thousands of Rwandan expatriates fleeing genocide. It isn’t just a national park or world heritage site, it is an ecosystem responsible for the lives of countless animals and people.
I applaud your company’s decision to discontinue exploration for oil drilling in the park, which will allow for projects more compatible with the site’s world heritage status, such as hydropower generation and ecotourism. Your company stands as a model for responsible, sustainable business practices by bowing out of this project.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Cai Tjeenk Willink via Wikimedia Commons
Original petition: Save National Park from Oil Drilling