Corporations have become increasingly vulnerable to reputational damage inflicted by powerful environmental organizations that misrepresent business activities and intimidate customers.
Companies also find themselves subject to shakedowns over alleged environmental damage. It is all too rare for business to fight back, but two of the most significant examples are currently making their way through the Canadian judicial system.
The first is the suit brought by Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products against Greenpeace alleging “defamation, malicious falsehood and intentional interference with economic relations.” The second involves Chevron Corp.’s stout opposition to U.S. lawyer Steve Donziger’s attempt to bring a corrupt Ecuadorian judgment to Canada. The two cases were linked this week when Greenpeace joined the assault on Chevron.
Last week, Resolute suffered an apparent setback when its attempt to bring into evidence Greenpeace’s persistent pattern of illegality worldwide was rejected by an Ontario Superior Court. At times it appeared as if Justice D.L. Corbett, who wrote the decision, was trying to bail Greenpeace out of its own defence.
He asserted that the case wasn’t about Greenpeace as a global activist organization, even though Greenpeace itself had claimed that it was. He suggested that to investigate Greenpeace’s global reach would be like dragging in the entire forest industry. But forestry companies are entirely different and separate organizations, Greenpeace is not.
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