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Monday, March 28, 2011

Strategic CSR - Chevron

I will be traveling for the next week with only intermittent internet access.
Apologies for the interruption in service. The Newsletters will resume on April 6.
As always, your comments and ideas are welcome at any time.

The article in the url below reports on the recent court decision in Ecuador where Chevron was found guilty of pollution/environmental degradation and ordered to pay $8.6bn in fines and clean-up costs (possibly rising to over $9bn):

The plaintiffs, residents of Ecuador's oil-rich Amazon rain forest, are seeking to hold Chevron accountable for environmental damage they say was caused by Texaco Inc., which operated in the country from 1965 to 1992. Chevron inherited the case when it acquired Texaco in 2001.

The case is complex and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Chevron denies any wrongdoing or liability. What I thought was interesting about the decision, however, was the following:

And if the U.S. oil giant doesn't publicly apologize in the next 15 days, the judge ordered the company to pay twice that amount.

The intimacy of a public apology (and implied admission of guilt), together with the legal consequences of refusing to comply, was an interesting twist to the story. The judge seemed to be trying to make the legal transaction more human and personal. In the process, he is holding the firm to a level of accountability that exceeds the monetary value of the fine.

It is always interesting (depressing?) to see the reaction of the stock market to these kinds of decisions”

Investors … shrugged off the ruling Monday. Chevron's shares rose 1.3% to $96.95 in 4 p.m. composite trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Take care

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Chevron Hit With Record Judgment
By Ben Casselman, Isabel Ordonez and Angel Gonzalez
1025 words
15 February 2011
The Wall Street Journal

Additional information about this case can be found in this second article:

Chevron Is Ordered to Pay $9 Billion by Ecuador Judge
By SIMON ROMERO and CLIFFORD KRAUSS; Simon Romero reported from Caracas, and Clifford Krauss from Houston. John Schwartz contributed reporting from New York, and Irene Caselli from Quito, Ecuador.
1088 words
15 February 2011
The New York Times
Late Edition - Final