Environmental Practices – Chevron (2013)

Outcome: 21.7%

Environmental  expertise is critical to the success of companies in the energy industry because of the significant environmental issues associated with their operations.  Shareholders, lenders,host country governments  and regulators, and affected  communities  are focused on these impacts.   A company’s inability  to demonstrate that its environmental policies and practices are in line with internationally accepted standards can lead to difficulties in raising new capital and obtaining the necessary licences from regulators.
Chevron has repeatedly  been cited for allegedly harmful environmental practices:

  • In February, 2011, an Ecuadoran court judgment  found Chevron liable for $8.6 billion arising from widespread contamination of Amazonian land and water resources by Texaco between 1964 and 1992.
  • A serious oil spill off the coast of Brazil caused the Brazilian government to suspend Chevron’s off-shore oil exploration in November, 2011. In 2012, Chevron and Transocean Ltd. were charged by federal prosecutors in Brazil with $19.7 billion in civil and criminal damages arising from oil spills off the Brazilian coast in 2011 and 2012.
  • Chevron is accused of polluting land and water resources by its Niger Delta operations, and damaging the local fishing economy. These practices have fueled civil unrest, protests, and related lawsuits.
  • Chevron faces allegations of environmental and health damages to local communities from its operations in Kazakhstan. In 2007, a consortium in which Chevron has a 50% interest was fined approximately $609 million for illegally storing sulphur.

We believe these controversies have the potential to damage shareholder  value and that the company must respond to environmental challenges in an effective, strategic and transparent manner in order to restore trust and minimize the adverse impact of its operations.
We believe that Chevron would benefit by addressing the environmental impact of its business at the most strategic level by appointing a specialist to the board.  An authoritative figure with acknowledged environmental expertise and standing could perform  a valuable role for the company by enabling Chevron to more effectively address the environmental issues inherent  in its business. It would also help ensure that the highest levels of attention focus on the development of environmental standards for new projects.  Such a board role would strengthen the company’s ability to demonstrate its seriousness in addressing environmental issues.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: Shareholders request that, as elected board directors’ terms of office expire, at least one candidate be recommended who:

  • has a high level of expertise and experience in environmental matters relevant to hydrocarbon exploration and production and is widely recognized in the business and environmental communities as an authority in such field,  as reasonably determined by the company’s board, and
  • will qualify, subject to  exceptions in extraordinary circumstances explicitly specified by the board, as an independent director under the standards applicable to the company as an NYSE listed company,

in order that the board includes at least one director  satisfying the foregoing criteria, which director shall have designated responsibility  on the board for environmental matters.

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