25 January 2006 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109
Davos, Switzerland - Chevron's troubled brand image took another battering today after the California-based oil giant won the 2006 Public Eye on Davos Award for corporate irresponsibility in the environment category during a ceremony coinciding with the Davos World Economic Forum.
Chevron (formerly ChevronTexaco) had been nominated by San Francisco-based non-profit Amazon Watch for the corporation's refusal to clean up one of the planet's worst environmental disasters, in the Ecuadorian rainforest, triggered by toxic dumping from 1967 to 1992. Chevron is currently a defendant in a historic class-action trial in Ecuador brought by 30,000 rainforest dwellers.
The Public Eye on Davos Awards are given each year by Swiss environmental organizations the Berne Declaration and Pro Natura-Friends of the Earth and coincides with the official World Economic Forum in Davos, attended by government officials and corporate executives. Other 2006 winners were Walt Disney Corporation and Citigroup.
Chevron's crude waste releases in Ecuador were at least 30 times larger than the Exxon Valdez spill, and the toxic waste has now permeated the water table in an area greater than the size of Rhode Island. Texaco reaped $30 billion in profits from its operations in Ecuador.
Throughout the contaminated area, most local residents are forced to drink contaminated water from natural sources. Two indigenous groups who live in the area have seen their populations plummet. Rates of cancer, birth defects and miscarriages have skyrocketed, according to various health studies.
Amazon Watch spokesperson Jennifer DeLury Ciplet accepted the award on behalf of Chevron. She said: "Chevron's brand will remain as tainted as the Ecuadorian Amazon until CEO David O'Reilly accepts responsibility for cleaning up the contamination. We call on Chevron to fund a comprehensive remediation of the devastated area and provide health care for the thousands of Ecuadorians suffering from this toxic catastrophe."
Cleanup has been estimated to cost a minimum of $6.14 billion, excluding personal damages to the thousands of victims. The final judgment could set a worldwide benchmark for corporate accountability regarding environmental negligence.