We’ve reached the end of our second season. This is the time when we take a pause and look back. In today’s episode, it means looking back to our pilot episode about shareholder activism and our Season 1 bonus episode called The Price of the Ecuadorian Chernobyl. This is the story of Chevron and the decades of oil dumping in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
In this episode, we jump back into this epic David and Goliath story and get to know Steven Donziger, the human rights lawyer at the center of all of it.
Why are we having this conversation now? After losing its case, Chevron is seeking to hinder the collection of the judgment by filing a retaliatory lawsuit meant to silence and bankrupt the lawyer representing the Ecuadorians. It’s almost unbelievable. Do the math. Chevron owes the Ecuadorians $9.5 billion, and it’s now demanding $60 billion from Steven.
As bankers, we are trained to follow the money. And we suspect that there’s more to the story. We have a lot we could talk to Steven about. But in this episode, we’ll try to get to know Steven and find out how he managed to turn the tables and use the tools of capitalism in service to human rights. Maybe this is what’s really spooking Chevron, and dare we suggest might be spooking the entire petrochemical industry.