Chevron Board Member Env Expertise 2012
|Filer||New York State Comptroller|
|Sector||Oil and Gas|
|Subject(s)||Air Pollution; Governance; Water Pollution|
|Resolved Clause Summary||Independent board member with environmental expertise|
|Supporting Memo||Download PDF|
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 Ecuadorian court judgment found Chevron liable for$8.6 billion in damages 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. Officials estimated at the time that the company could be held liable for over $80 million in damages.
• Chevron is accused of polluting land and water resources by its Niger Delta operations, and damaging the local fishing economy through dredging of waterways. These practices have fueled civil unrest, protests, and a related lawsuit alleging Chevron’s complicity in security forces’ killing of two protestors.
• 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 the seriousness with which it addresses 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.