Can Corporate Sustainability & Economic Growth Coexist?
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QUITO, Ecuador, Dec. 05 /CSRwire/ - Ecuador’s struggle against the transnational company Chevron must become a reference for Latin American countries to establish a common policy against foreign capital abuses, according to Roberto Pizarro, an economist from Universidad de Chile and former Minister of Planning for Chile (between 1996 and 1998).
Pizarro, who’s background includes a post graduate degree from University of Sussex (United Kingdom), performed an analysis for the magazine América Economía on the “aggressive campaign” (legal and in the media) implemented by the U.S. oil company against the government of Ecuador after a court from the Amazon province of Sucumbíos ordered it to pay compensation to nearly 30 thousand community people affected by the pollution caused after Texaco’s operations, between 1964 and 1990.
In the analyst’s opinion, the company does not accept neither the verdict nor the judicial procedures; it does not undertake its responsibilities and implements all mechanisms of Global Corporate Law to favor their own interests.
In short, he noted, it does not accept Ecuador’s national sovereignty and takes advantage of a fully asymmetric international legal system that protects international companies through trade and investment standards that are multilateral, regional and bilateral, as well as litigation before international courts.
For the above, said Pizarro, the Chevron case makes clear how international companies become powerful agents whose actions are not different to the actions of similar companies in other countries. “Actions that found protection under a global legal architecture that supports said actions at the expense of financial and socio-environmental conditions of the countries where they operate”, he added.
Pizarro quotes the cases of Barrick Gold (in northern Chile) and HidroAysen (in Patagonia) as paradigms of the attack perpetrated by transnational companies against fundamental human rights for local communities. “And their pressure on the political powers that be to pass projects have revealed the weakness of Chilean institutions, which has only been offset by the vigor of social mobilizations”, he noted.
The Chilean expert highlights that the Ecuadorian government’s struggle against Chevron ought to become a reference for all Latin American countries to establish a common policy against foreign capital in terms of taxation, the environment, labor relations and transfer prices, among other topics.
At the same time, he mentioned, it is fundamental (to have) an International Treaty to control international companies, in the framework of the United Nations, in order to end impunity in their operations in developing countries.
On September 17, President Correa launched the campaign "la mano sucia de Chevron" (‘Chevron’s Dirty Hand’) that seeks to reveal the environmental damage caused by the transnational company.
Regional entities such as the Latin American Parliament, the Sao Paulo Forum, the Chancellors of UNASUR and well-known people such as Al Gore, Brad Pitt and Sting, Danny Glover, Cher, Alexandra Cousteau, among others, have jointed the solidarity campaign in favor of Ecuador.
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