Shareholders can enforce laws

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Chevron, your friendly oil giant, is being pursued by farmers in Equator for dumping millions of tons of waste into their beautiful waters – causing cancer, pollution and misery. As you might expect, Chevron denies the charges and is mounting a PR campaign. Article here (francais)

Large shareholders must get involved on issues of this magnitude. In fact, the California Pension Fund, a very large Chevron shareholder, is pushing increased transparency about their activities. We have started to see pension and sovereign wealth funds applying sustainability and environmental criteria to their investment decisions; demands will only increase.

Ultimately, bad environmental management increases financial risks and more importantly, demonstrates that management is short cited. If Chevron were a canadian company and Bill C-300 on corporate accountability makes it through parliament, companies will have to fess up to their overseas environmental activities. Until then, it is up to large shareholders to put management’s feet to the fire.