Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Chevron won a long-standing fight with Ecuador's native peoples by proving a court judgment against it for polluting was obtained through fraud. The case was egregious, but that doesn't help the company much in the court of public opinion. There it stands convicted of fouling the Amazon rainforest. The public case against the company has run on for so long that those who are aware of it assume Chevron was at fault because it took on the liabilities of Texaco, which it acquired. It will take a prolonged effort on the part of the company to prove that it wasn't, and even then, activists won't accept the court's ruling. This is one of those cases in which the company can't win. Granted Chevron might be satisfied to avoid paying a $9.5 billion judgment and could live with the reputation of a polluter. Still, no company wants a black mark against it that it doesn't deserve. Look for the company to play up its environmental consciousness in months to come.