Saturday, December 22, 2012
Chevron and the Activist
Chevron was recently involved in a lawsuit in Ecuador. An excellent blog explains many of the details of the suit. Chevron lost and the court in Ecuador awarded the plaintiffs $18 billion USD. There environmental claims and strange goings on in a far away court. What interests me is the involvement of a Shareholder Activist, Trillium Asset Management. This investor has great interest in encouraging Chevron to care more about sustainable issues like the environment. Chevron recently subpoenaed Trillium for another suit in the US involving a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) claim.
Chevron seems to want information from the shareholder Trillium involving its actions to pressure Chevron to settle the claim in Ecuador rather than going to trial. This seems straight forward enough.
What I find interesting is the tone of both the blog (see link above) and a December 9th New York Times article describing the activities of Chevron as muscling Trillium rather than seeking truth and Trillium seeking only the best for shareholders. Trillium has $1 billion under management. These are big boys playing big boy games all around.
The tone of most of what I have read is that Chevron is guilty and Trillium, because it is seeking matters of sustainability, is lacks guile. How can one know the truth? I just think at least the media should reserve judgment. once the sustainable investor gets as large as Trillium, it is ok to suspect everyone of having an agenda.