Global environmental challenges
Blame aside, help Ecuador’s oil damage victims – former ad man
Doing good should be good business.
At least that’s how Richie Goldman, a former Men’s Wearhouse executive/ad man turned motivational book writer, believes Chevron should approach the environmental damage in Ecuador that has resulted from decades of oil extraction. Chevron is fighting a claim of up to $27 billion for rainforest pollution in a court in Ecuador, where the oil major insists the deck is stacked against it.
Goldman, who grew up in a Pennsylvania coal-mining town, worries the 16-year case against Texaco (bought by Chevron in 2001) is distracting everyone from the suffering of those living with the pollution, so he founded a group to raise both awareness and money to help them — right now. “If we wait for a legal outcome, we’re all going to be very old,” he said.
The Ethos Alliance describes itself as a corporate social responsibility platform, with Ecuador the first cause it will champion. It is pushing to raise money for clean water supplies, health clinics and resettlement for indigenous Ecuadoreans affected by oil waste in their water.
Goldman, who should at least be familiar with the oil biz after nearly three decades at a Houston-based retailer, said he was shocked earlier this year that he had not heard previously about the pollution around the Texaco-founded oil town of Lago Agrio – “Sour Lake” – and felt a better approach was needed. The man who came up with the Men’s Wearhouse tagline “You’ll love the way you look - We guarantee it” insists he is not anti-business and not about pointing fingers; Goldman says he would reach out to Chevron by appealing to the company’s good business sense and, at the very least, its desire to “make this thing go away.”
Photo credit: Reuters/Lou Dematteis (Ecuadorean oil worker walks by a pool of oil near an waste pit)
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