By Leaving Burma, International Gas Giants Show Ethical Leadership

Learn more about Sarah Gibbons.
Sarah Gibbons
Senior Manager, Communications
George W. Bush Institute

In a recent op-ed , Kenneth Hersh, President and CEO of the Bush Center, writes that TotalEnergies and Chevron’s announcement that they’re exiting Burma to protest human rights abuses against Burmese civilians is the private sector equivalent of economic sanctions, and it was the right thing to do.

Almost a year after Burma’s military seized control of the government, TotalEnergies and Chevron announced that they’re exiting the country to protest human rights abuses against Burmese civilians. In an op-ed for the Houston Chronicle, Kenneth Hersh, President and CEO of the Bush Center, applauds the international gas giants’ decision to demonstrate ethical leadership. Below is an excerpt from the essay:


“By taking a principled stand — albeit after pressure from shareholders and human rights groups — these companies sent the world, their employees and stakeholders the message that ethical behavior matters. While the move isn’t in their short-term economic interest, it will provide long-term benefits.


Compassionate, principled leadership is everyone’s responsibility — individual, business, government. Business cannot operate in a vacuum, agnostic to the conditions on the ground, whether local market conditions or geopolitical developments halfway around the world. In fact, businesses are often freer to act than governments subject to political and other forces. They are able to send powerful and clear messages about right and wrong.”


Read the full op-ed here.