Chevron in Ecuador

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Thompson Demands Chevron Review International Environmental Practices

New York City Pension Funds
14 December 2007 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109

New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr., acting on behalf of the New York City Pension Funds, has submitted a shareholder resolution insisting that Chevron Corporation of San Ramon, CA review its environmental policies and procedures.

"Corporations that conduct business in an irresponsible manner by polluting the environment pose significant risks to investors," Thompson said. "It does not make financial sense for Chevron to continue to pay large fines and legal settlements when many of these pitfalls can be avoided by company-wide adherence to the highest environmental standards."

The New York City Pension Funds behind the measures are the: New York City Employees' Retirement System (NYCERS), New York City Teachers' Retirement System (TRS), New York City Police Department Pension Fund, the New York City Fire Department Pension Fund, and the Board of Education Retirement System (BERS).

The Funds are among the largest shareholders in Chevron Corporation, collectively holding 6,676,009 shares valued at $612,323,545
Thompson's resolution notes that despite that Chevron's business and ethics codes place priority on the safety of company staff, community members, and the minimizing environmental impacts in countries where Chevron operates, Chevron repeatedly has been accused of practices that allegedly have caused environmental damage and harmed the health and welfare of local communities.

"Chevron shareholders need to examine the gap between the company's international environmental standards and actual performance," Thompson said. "A report outlining both practices and goals would play a role in illuminating and addressing the factors accounting for this gap. By introducing this resolution we hope to encourage management to focus on long term health, not short term gain."

Comptroller Thompson's resolution cites the following examples:

  • Chevron is accused by numerous international human rights organizations of polluting land and water resources in its ongoing operations in Nigeria's Niger Delta.
  • The government of Kazakhstan has imposed a $609 million fine on the Chevron-led consortium developing the Tengiz oil field for alleged environmental violations.
  • In 2002, the Angolan government fined Chevron $2 million for pipeline oil spills that polluted beaches and damaged fishing in the Cabinda region.
  • Chevron is on trial in Ecuador for widespread contamination of Amazonian land and water resources in the 1970s.
  • Unocal's pipeline operations in Burma contributed to the deforestation of the last primary tropical rainforest on mainland Asia.

"People in these and other communities are suffering. It is imperative that Chevron meet the highest environmental and social standards wherever it operates, regardless of how lax national laws might be," Thompson added.

New York State Common Retirement System, Trillium Asset Management, and several religious shareholders affiliated with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility have co-sponsored this resolution.

The resolution calls on Chevron's Board of Directors to prepare a report by November 2008 regarding the policies and procedures that guide Chevron's assessment of host country laws and regulations with respect to their adequacy to protect human health, the environment, and company reputation.

Besides Thompson, the Pension Funds' trustees are:
NYCERS: New York City Finance Commissioner Martha E. Stark (Chair); New York City Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum; Borough Presidents Scott Stringer (Manhattan), Helen Marshall (Queens), Marty Markowitz (Brooklyn), Adolfo Carrion (Bronx), and James Molinaro (Staten Island); Lillian Roberts, Executive Director, District Council 37, AFSCME; Roger Toussaint, President Transport Workers Union Local 100; and Gregory Floyd, President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 237.

TRS: New York City Finance Commissioner Martha E. Stark (Chair); Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm, New York City Department of Education; and Sandra March, Melvyn Aaronson and Mona Romain, all of the United Federation of Teachers.

Police Pension Fund: Mayor Michael Bloomberg; New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly (Chair); New York City Finance Commissioner Martha E. Stark; Patrick Lynch, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association; Michael Palladino, Detectives Endowment Association; Edward D. Mullins, Sergeants Benevolent Association; Thomas Drogan, Lieutenants Benevolent Association; and John Driscoll, Captains Endowment Association.

Fire Department Pension Fund: Mayor Michael Bloomberg; New York City Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta (Chair); New York City Finance Commissioner Martha E. Stark; Stephen Cassidy, President, James Slevin, Vice President, Robert Straub, Treasurer, and John Kelly, Brooklyn Representative and Chair, Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York; Michael Currid, Captains' Rep., John J. McDonnell, Chiefs' Rep., and Stephen J. Carbone, Lieutenants' Rep., Uniformed Fire Officers Association; and, Joseph Gagliardi, Marine Engineers Association.

BERS: mayoral appointees Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, Alan Aviles, Philip Berry, David Chang, Tino Hernandez, Edison O. Jackson, Richard Menschel and Marita Regan; Luis Peguero (Bronx), Patrick Sullivan (Manhattan), Wendy Gilgeous (Brooklyn), and Joan Correale (Staten Island); and employee members Joseph D'Amico of the IUOE Local 891 member and Milagros Rodriguez of District Council 37, Local 372.