Quito, May 31st, 2017.- In the Chevron Corp. Annual Meeting of Stockholders, held today in Midland Texas, the stockholders voted in favor of three resolutions proposed to produce changes in the politics of the company regarding the environmental trial won by indigenous and rural Ecuadorians united in the Union of People Affected by Texaco, UDAPT.
The environmental trial of indigenous and rural Ecuadorians against Chevron was again part of the discussion in the Annual Meeting of Stockholders, evidencing that this issue preoccupies more than 35% of the investors, who demanded changes and information with respect to the treatment of the case.
The report given by the CEO, John Watson, to the members present, in which he qualified the judicial process as fraud, was subjected to questioning by the stockholders, and Watson had to retract and abruptly close the topic.
Despite the fact that the administration presents itself as “strong”, 39% of stockholders voted in favor of a separation of the CEO from the Chairmanship of the Board, a proposal submitted by a group of stockholders who hope to see the proposal adopted and the bylaws amended so that the Chairman of the Board will be an independent member. Currently the positions of both CEO and Chairman of the Board are held by John Watson, who has had a questionable role in the environmental trial won by the Ecuadorian plaintiffs against Chevron. For the investors, Watson holding both positions has lead to inadequate supervision of the Board and inadequate management of the administration, significantly increasing risk and costs for stockholders.
The second resolution, with 20% acceptance by stockholders, refers to the necessity of a Board member having specialized knowledge and experience in environmental issues, especially hydrocarbon actions, in addition to being recognized in the business and environmental worlds as an authority in the field. With this the investors recognize the environmental problems produced by Chevron Corp. These problems threaten the reputation of the company as they demonstrate an incapacity to comply with international environmental protection standards, thus complicating the obtaining of new capital and licenses to expand operations.
The third resolution concerns the possibility of convoking a special meeting, taking into account that stockholders have not been sufficiently or truthfully informed about the situation of the Ecuadorian environmental trial, implicating a significant risk for investors. This third resolution hopes to strengthen the Power of the Assembly and enable it to address important issues during the periods between Annual Assemblies; the resolution achieved 31% support.
The proponents of these resolutions assume the leadership of Chevron Corp. has adopted misguided policy; instead of complying with its responsibility for environmental damages in the Ecuadorian Amazon, resulting in a sentence against the company for more than $9.5 billion, Chevron has maintained a legal battle that has signified a great expense for the company and a grave detriment to the company reputation.
As is stated in the documents endorsing these resolutions, John Watson, the CEO of Chevron, has not adequately informed stockholders about the facts of the environmental trial. The trial, carried out by indigenous and rural communities in Ecuador, has extended from Ecuador to Canada, Brazil and Argentina and is recognized globally as the most important case regarding the defense of human and environmental rights. The trial has significantly hurt Chevron, subjecting the company to questioning worldwide.
This vote reflects a growing preoccupation among stockholders of the oil company, who already internally pressure the company to definitively resolve the case. For Willian Lucitante, Executive Coordinator of UDAPT, the events today in Midland represent a victory achieved by the affected Ecuadorians, given that “despite the millions spent by Chevron to destroy the fight of the communities, each time we are stronger in the global fight.” Lucitante also thanked the stockholders who proposed and who voted in favor of the resolutions.
Pablo Fajardo, lawyer of the plaintiffs, stated that it is appalling that the CEO of Chevron does not incorporate the value of the judicial sentence into the economic balance of the company, nor does he adequately inform stockholders of the risk in their investments in the corporation. For Fajardo, the resolutions insist the administration assume greater responsibility for the planet, as much for environmental concerns as for human rights.