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Watchdog Reports Disturbance of Community Graves by TotalEnergies Pipeline Project in East Africa

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Report: TotalEnergies Pipeline Project Disturbing Community Graves in East Africa

According to a report by New York-based climate watchdog GreenFaith, the French oil company TotalEnergies is failing to protect the sanctity of hundreds of graves in its controversial pipeline project in East Africa. The project aims to construct a heated pipeline from oil fields in Uganda to a port in Tanzania. The report accuses TotalEnergies of disregarding local customs and traditions related to the treatment of graves, causing distress among communities in Uganda and Tanzania.

Call for Project Cancellation

The report adds to the growing list of campaigners urging TotalEnergies, along with its partners China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Uganda, and Tanzania, to cancel the project. Activists argue that the pipeline undermines the Paris climate accord. TotalEnergies, as the majority shareholder, has faced legal pressure over the project's environmental impact.

Denial and State-of-the-Art Design

TotalEnergies has denied the charges, asserting that it is implementing state-of-the-art design, including horizontal drilling, to minimize ecological damage. However, the report by GreenFaith claims that the pipeline not only raises climate and human rights concerns but also represents a "spiritual assault" on local communities.
Grave Disturbance and Neglected Due Diligence
Based on interviews with affected families in Uganda and Tanzania, the report reveals that over 2,000 graves will be disturbed or disrespected by drilling and pipeline activities. The report criticizes project officials for neglecting to use advanced survey techniques, such as ground-penetrating radar, to identify potential impediments like cultural artifacts or grave sites. TotalEnergies has yet to comment on the report. European lawmakers have previously urged the company to suspend its activities in the region, but TotalEnergies has resisted calls to sell its stake in the project. The pipeline's route passes through forest reserves, game parks, and Lake Victoria, raising concerns about ecological fragility. Despite the pressure, Ugandan authorities remain determined to proceed with the project, citing national sovereignty and the economic benefits of oil exports.

A New Business Perspective on the TotalEnergies Pipeline Controversy

The controversy surrounding TotalEnergies' pipeline project in East Africa, as reported by climate watchdog GreenFaith, presents a critical lesson for new businesses. The report alleges that the pipeline project, which plans to connect oil fields in Uganda to a Tanzanian port, is disturbing hundreds of community graves, disregarding local customs and traditions.

Respecting Local Communities and Traditions

For new businesses, particularly those operating in foreign territories, this situation underscores the importance of understanding and respecting local customs and traditions. Neglecting to do so can lead to significant backlash and potential legal consequences, as seen with the calls for TotalEnergies to cancel the project.

Environmental Responsibility and Due Diligence

TotalEnergies' denial of the charges and claims of using state-of-the-art design to minimize ecological damage also highlight the need for businesses to prioritize environmental responsibility. Moreover, the criticism TotalEnergies faces for neglecting advanced survey techniques emphasizes the importance of due diligence in business operations.
Stakeholder Pressure and Business Decisions
The pressure from European lawmakers and the resistance from Ugandan authorities demonstrate the complex dynamics businesses may face when dealing with various stakeholders. For new businesses, this serves as a reminder to consider all stakeholder perspectives when making strategic decisions. In conclusion, the TotalEnergies controversy offers valuable insights for new businesses on the importance of respecting local customs, prioritizing environmental responsibility, conducting thorough due diligence, and managing stakeholder relationships.
Story First Published at: https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/a-totalenergies-pipeline-project-in-east-africa-is-disturbing-community-graves-watchdog-says
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