Corporate Environment Obligation: An examination of the performance of Chevron Corporation Nowadays, increasing customers worried about the negative effects that large companies put on environment especially some energy industries. Chevron Corporation is one of largest multinational energy corporations in the world which has branch offices in more than 100 countries.
It is engaged in all the aspects of gas and crude oil, which include exploration, production, marketing, chemicals manufacturing and so on (Chevron Corporation. n.d.). Although Chevron produce energy to power economic growth of America, even the whole world, the environmental problems it caused has aroused great public concern.
This essay analyses the environmental contamination caused by Chevron Corporation operation, specifically in two cases: environmental atrocity in the Ecuador and Brazil oil spills. On the other hand, it describes some positive measures that Chevron takes to protect the environment which is focus on the following areas: protecting the environment, respecting biodiversity and preserving freshwater resources. The case against Chevron Corporation
In order to satisfy the tremendous oil demand of America, Chevron drill for more oil in other countries all over the world which heavily harm the ecosystems and communities in many countries such as Africa, South American and other nations. As a frontrunner in energy industry, Chevron also wants to gain more profit. For example, despite of the economic recession in 2008, Chevron still planned to increase total revenues by 25%, which is approximately $263 billion US Dollar.
Chevron was concerned with environmental practices and business coincidentally, leading to huge environmental damage in some countries especially in Ecuador where the largest environmental lawsuit took place in the world. Early in the 1960s, Chevron began to prospect oil in Ecuador. It got a lot of money and then ran, leaving many environmental problems in the country (Julie, S. 2009 ).
On February 28, 2011, Chevron Corporation was fined over $19 billion dollars by Ecuadorian Court because the oil and gas operations severely damaged the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador (Mark, W. 2011). There are a lot of evidences showing Chevron destroy the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. In order to reduce cost, Chevron dumped more than 18 billion gallons of poisonous waste into Amazon waterways during 1964 to 1990.
These waste caused seriously environmental pollution to six indigenous groups in Amazon rainforest and at present, one of them is extinct and other five groups lost majority of their ancestral lands. Chevron also abandoned a large quantity of waste pits which are filled with noxious sludge that contain carcinogens like benzene and chromium VI to Amazon forest. In the past few decades, these toxic substances migrated into soils, groundwater and stream that are the main source of drinking water for local residents.
The toxins may cause reproductive problems, immune system damage, nervous system impairment and a number of other health problem to human beings ( Chevron’s Top Ten Lies: Chevron’s Ten Biggest Lies About the Ecuador Suit. n.d. ). In 2011 December, Chevron Corporation was imposed a fine of over $10 billion by Brazilian federal prosecutors due to environmental contamination caused by oil spill in northeastern coast of Rio de Janeiro state.
The crude oil began to leak on 7 November caused by underestimating the pressure in an underwater reservoir which led to oil rush up a bore hole of a drilling platform and then ran into seabed around it. The oil spilled out from more than 7 narrow fissures at the bottom of the sea. Finally, the oil leak was under control until the end of November but there was still some residual oil seeping from the crevices. In addition, Chevron Corporation lack of environmental planning and management.
According to an investigation by the attorney general’s office, Chevron did not have the capability to control the pollution that was caused by the spill of about 3000 barrels of oil. Chevron was criticized harshly by the petroleum regulatory agency and local ministry because it did not share the oil spills information at the beginning and did not have any emergency equipment to deal with such situation on hand. (Brazil Sues Oil Giant Chevron For $10.85 Billion Over Offshore Leak. 2011). The case for Chevron Corporation
On the contrary, Chevron Corporation continuously optimizes its operating processes to reduce waste and pollution and to preserve natural resources as well as environment. In 2007, Chevron has developed an Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment (ESHIA) process to evaluate new project for health and environmental impacts. ESHIA process is used to minimize the serious negative impacts and to enhance the benefits when a project is being planned, operated and decommissioned.
Stakeholder engagement is the most important aspect to this process throughout the life of a project. EDHIS has already been applied for about 700 capital projects all over the world, for instance the Frade Field in the Campos Basin offshore Brazil. Chevron Brasil is cooperating with Federal University of Rio Grande to research the species and distribution of marine mammals like dolphins and whales in Frade Field area. The purpose of this project is to identify and monitor the congregation area of dolphins and whales and establish the conservation areas ( Environment. 2011)
Diversity ecosystem plays a significant role in sustainable development by providing necessary economic benefits to the whole society and human beings, like clothing, food, fuel, shelter and so on. However, the natural biodiversity in most area of the world is under serious threat in modern society. Chevron is committed to preserve the biodiversity of the environment (Biodiversity Statement. 2011). one of the most successful example is Salak Project of Chevron. The Gunung Halimun Salak National Park is the largest primitive forest in Indonesia which is quite near from the nation’s capital, Jakarta.
The main task of Chevron in Salak is to produce energy to support the economic growth of Indonesia. At the same time, Chevron is working closely with park rangers, local farmers and international wildlife groups to preserve some endangered animals in the area, like hawk eagles, leopards and gibbons. Through this project, Chevron proves to the public that environmental protection and energy production can coexist peacefully (Delivering Energy, Respecting Nature. n.d.).
Fresh water is a basic economic and environmental resource. As an international corporation, Chevron recognizes that preserving useful water is necessary to their business and communities. Because of this reason, an integrated freshwater management strategy was developed by Chevron to enhance the water management process throughout the whole company. Also, a global position statement on fresh water was developed to emphasize this significant resource.
In Kem County, Chevron cooperated with the Cawelo Water District, providing the local farmers water for agricultural. Water is one of the most important byproduct of the steamflooding technology which Chevron use to coax crude oil from underground. In California, Chevron collaborated with two water treatment plants to reform ponds which were used by Chevron before. The new use of the ponds is to prevent sewage from flowing into San Francisco Bay during large storms (Environment. 2011).
ConclusionOverall, the behavior of Chevron Corporation to the environment has been amalgamated. On positive side, Chevron developed the ESHIA process to evaluate new project which minimize the negative impacts to environment. At the same time, Chevron always combines biodiversity considerations into their ESHIA process when evaluating a project or make a decision. In their Salak Project, Chevron protects the endangered animals in the area while they are producing energy.
The project could also benefit different stakeholders, such as the local farmers, and encourage them to protect the environment. In addition, Chevron commits itself to preserving freshwater resource, so an integrated corporate freshwater management strategy as well as a global position statement on fresh water was developed to protect this critical resource.
However, in order to get tidy profit, Chevron leaves huge environmental problems to a number of countries. There are many evidences showing that Chevron did not perform the social responsibilities to environment. In Ecuador, Chevron dumped a large quantity of poisonous waste into Amazon rainforest which seriously damage the ecological balance in that area. In addition, some waste they abandoned contains carcinogenic chemicals which may lead to reproductive problems, immune system problem to local residents. Public expect that the activities of Chevron do not harm the environment as much as possible.
However, driven by the huge interest, the company contaminate natural environment to a large extent. Also it is shown that Chevron lack of environmental planning and management. In the Brazil oil spills, Chevron did not have the capability to control the pollution caused by oil spill. Even though Chevron was heavily fined as a punishment, the environmental problems it caused can not be solved. The negative environmental effects of Chevron Corporation far outweigh its positive impacts, resulting in an unsatisfactory environmental effort.
Biodiversity Statement. 2011. http://www.chevron.com/globalissues/ environment/ biodiversity/ (accessed March 22, 2012)
Brazil Sues Oil Giant Chevron For $10.85 Billion Over Offshore Leak. 2011. http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-12-15/news/30518769_1_oil-drilling-brazilian-officials-leak (accessed March 22, 2012)
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Chevron’s Top Ten Lies: Chevron’s Ten Biggest Lies About the Ecuador Suit. n.d. http://www.texacotoxico.org/eng/node/278 (accessed March 21, 2012)
Delivering Energy, Respecting Nature. n.d. http://www.chevron.com/stories /#/allstories/salakrespectingnature/producingenergyrespectfully/ (accessed March 23, 2012)
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Julie, S. 2009. “60 Minute” exposes Chevron’s environmental atrocity in the Amazon. http://matadornetwork.com/change/60-minutes-exposes-chevrons-environmental-atrocity-in-the-amazon/ (accessed March 20, 2012)
Mark, W. 2011. Aguinda v. Chevron Corporation – Environmental Justice or Sham? http://www.acoel.org/post/2011/04/15/Aguinda-v-Chevron-Corporation-Environmental-Justice-or-Sham-.aspx (accessed March 20, 2012)