In her powerful message to Chevron’s 2020 annual stockholder meeting, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams presents shareholder proposal #9 "Special Meetings" on behalf of Newground. The proposal asked Chevron's board to lower the threshold required for shareholders to call a special meeting to 10%, so company owners can more easily raise issues of concern that management would rather ignore, such as its liability for pollution of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
In her statement supporting the proposal – audio of which was played during the virtual shareholder meeting – Williams notes that Chevron has acted directly counter to its stated ‘Chevron Way’ code of conduct: “Using corporate money to retaliate and intimidate” its critics. Williams and 28 other Nobel laureates recently signed a letter in support of the $9.5 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron for its oil pollution in the Amazon rainforest and called for the company to end its legal harassment of Steven Donziger, the human rights lawyer who helped 30,000 indigenous victims secure the judgment.
The proposal received unusually strong 34.3% vote, despite the board's opposition, which could represent a majority of the independent (non-management influenced) shareholders.
Play the video below to hear Williams' message. A full transcript of her statement follows. For other materials related to this (including videos by Alec Baldwin & Pink Floyd's Roger Waters) visit: www.newground.net/chevron
Full transcript of Jody Williams' message to Chevron shareholders:
Good morning, I’m Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, standing on behalf of Newground Social Investment in Seattle to move “Special Meeting” proposal #9.
Last month, twenty-eight other Nobel Laureates and I released a statement supporting the $9.5 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron for rainforest pollution. We also called on the Justice Department to investigate Chevron’s actions through law firm Gibson Dunn and District Judge Lewis Kaplan against Steven Donziger, lead lawyer in the case.
The much-touted ‘Chevron Way’ states the company is “built on our values, which distinguish us and guide our actions... We conduct our business in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, respecting the law and universal human rights to benefit the communities where we work.” Chevron’s actions in Ecuador bely those lofty words.
Apparently, shareholder money and reputation is not the focus, nor is reflecting the ‘Chevron Way’. Using corporate money to retaliate and intimidate is Chevron’s response, where it has spent a reported $2 billion to fight the case, and revealing the lengths to which it will go to prevail. You don’t have to believe me or the other 28 Nobel Laureates – go to Ecuador and bear witness yourself.
The Board recommends a vote against seven proposals, on issues ranging from climate risk and lobbying, to petrochemical risk, human rights practices, and this proposal on Special Meetings.
Each of these issues can threaten shareholder value and reputation.
For all these reasons and more, I encourage a vote FOR proposal #9.
To learn more about Newground's shareholder engagement work with Chevron, visit www.newground.net/chevron.