The 11 finalists selected for the 2009 US Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence run the gamut from TOMS shoes in Argentina to Cisco Systems in Lebanon. But at least one of the nominations is drawing criticism from environmental groups: Chevron in the Philippines.
In an open letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Filipino/American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity urged the State Department to rescind the company’s nomination and chastised the department for allowing Chevron’s small investments in local projects to mask evidence of poor environmental stewardship. “Chevron Philippines is no corporation to be proud of, not by the US or the Philippines,” the letter reads. “A little corporate donation to a local project does not replace the many lives lost or harmed due to their [sic] toxic operations in the fenceline communities of the Manila oil depots, as well as around the world where they operate.”
An estimated 83,000 residents are directly affected by the massive Chevron oil depot in Pandacan, a residential district in Metro Manila. A 2002 study conducted by Global Community Monitor detected high levels of benzene, a component of gasoline and known carcinogen, in Pandacan’s air. In 2007 the Supreme Court ordered Chevron to relocate its depot for “the protection of the residents of Manila from catastrophic devastation,” but the company has stalled.
–Bay Area IndyMedia, 10/22