Chevron has a horrible environmental record, especially in South America. As Jeremy Bloom of Red, Green and Blue writes:
For years, Chevron (and predecessor companies now owned by Chevron) trashed the pristine Amazon rainforest, drilling, spilling, and then walking away. They were sued by a coalition of indiginous peoples whose land was tainted by Chevron; rather than do the right thing and pay for the cleanup, Chevron has fought them every step of the way. For seventeen years. And their actions speak louder than their pretty words.
And while Chevron has decided to launch a new advertising campaign called We Agree, it is still not owning up to or addressing the crimes it has committed in South America.
First, about the real We Agree campaign, the company says:
The campaign highlights the common ground Chevron shares with people around the world on key energy issues. It also describes the actions the company takes in producing energy responsibly and in supporting the communities where it operates.
But where is the action regarding the horrible damage Chevron has done in South America?
Well, the action has come from professional spoofers the Yes Men, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and Amazon Watch, who put out a fake press release on a website nearly identical to Chevron’s just before the actual press release was scheduled to go out. This fake press release digs a little deeper into the issues that Chevron is still trying to avoid. As Nathan Shock of The Inspired Economist writes:
Whereas Chevron asks if people agree that “oil companies should put their profits to good use,” the spoof ad says “oil companies should clean up their messes,” adding: “People in Ecuador, Nigeria, the Gulf of Mexico, Richmond, and elsewhere have a right to a clean and healthy environment too.” The spoof press release has a decidedly different tone as well, promising to admit “to abuses that companies usually try to hide.” The fake campaign is in reference to an ongoing lawsuit in Ecuador where Chevron is being tried for $27 billion to clean up oil pollution costs. Chevron calls the suit a fraud.
The Yes Men are true geniuses in my book, always nailing the big issues in Bond-like ease and fashion. And great to see them teaming up with wonderful organizations like RAN and Amazon Watch for this one.