New CEO of Chevron Michael Wirth continues with the policy of the former top manager John Watson, aiming at avoiding any responsibility in relation to the legal case that the UDAPT has been carrying out against the oil company for 25 years. However, pressure from the company investors is growing: today, 34% of shareholders supported the resolution related to the mismanagement of the Ecuador case.
At the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of Chevron Corp., held today in San Ramón, California, a significant number of stockholders voted in favor of a resolution proposed to bring about changes in the policy that the company has been adopting to cope with the environmental lawsuit started by indigenous people and peasants from Ecuador organized in the Union of People Affected by Chevron-Texaco, UDAPT.
The lawsuit has been discussed once again this year, producing the reaction of more than 30% of shareholders who demanded concrete actions to solve the litigation. Chevron was found guilty for three times by Ecuadorian courts and has seen its image severely damaged as highlighted by a letter sent by the UDAPT to the company stockholders.
The resolution refers to the possibility of convening a special meeting, taking into account that shareholders have not been sufficiently or truthfully informed regarding the financial risk deriving by the environmental judgment in Ecuador. Such resolution aims to strengthen the power of the shareholders to decide on important issues that may arise in between the Annual Assemblies, and gained about 34% of votes.
Furthermore, the resolution highlights the adoption of a mistaken policy by the management of Chevron Corp., which instead of fulfilling its responsibility for the environmental damage caused in the Ecuadorian Amazon – which led to a ruling condemning the company to pay more than 9,500 million dollars – has continued a reckless legal struggle that caused huge expenditures for the company, as well as serious damage to its image and reputation.
As stated in the documents supporting this resolution, John Watson, the company’s previous CEO, has not adequately informed the shareholders about the implications of the environmental lawsuit, which has been extended from Ecuador to Canada, Brazil and Argentina, and it is widely recognized as the most important legal case worldwide in defense of human and environmental rights. The lawsuit, carried out by the indigenous and peasant communities of Ecuador, has hit the company hard and led to questions about its way of acting around the world.
This vote reflects a growing concern of the shareholders of Chevron, which have been putting pressure on the company so that this case would be definitively resolved. Willian Lucitante, Executive Coordinator of the UDAPT, stated that what happened today in San Ramón is a success achieved by the affected people of Ecuador, in that “in spite of the millions spent by Chevron to destroy the struggle of this people, we are getting stronger in the global fight”. Lucitante also thanked the shareholders who proposed the resolution and those who voted in favor of it.
Pablo Fajardo, attorney for the plaintiffs, said that “it is outrageous that Michael Wirth, Chevron’s new CEO, accused American lawyers of lying. The reality is that the crime of Chevron in Ecuador directly affects six indigenous peoples, thousands of peasants, and has caused the death of hundreds of people with cancer. These are the people who fight for justice and demand reparation for the damage caused. We will continue defending the human rights of the 30,000 people affected by Chevron contamination, and will not give up until we the damage caused will be repaired”.