Producing transportation fuel from Canada's tar sands is more destructive, polluting, and carbon intensive than other ways of producing transportation fuel. With the help of ForestEthics, 19 large businesses and two US cities have publicly announced actions they have taken to reduce the environmental and social impacts that come from fossil-fueled transportation.
Here are some facts about the newest examples of the accelerating corporate shift toward a cleaner energy future:
- Walgreens1 has clearly decided to eliminate Canada's tar sands from its transportation footprint.
- Chiquita2 has committed to identify any connections between Chiquita’s fuel providers and tar sands refineries and to pursue the goal of eliminating fuel from those providers that is connected to tar sands refineries.
- Whole Foods3 has committed to the elimination where possible of its use of fuels produced by refineries that use feedstock from Canada’s tar sands.
- Trader Joe's4 has asked its transportation providers to eliminate fuels from tar sands refineries where possible and adopt a strategy of continuous improvement toward elimination of these fuels.
- Seventh Generation5 has asked its transportation providers to eliminate fuels from tar sands refineries where possible, is actively working with logistics providers to identify fuels from tar sands refineries and is committed to adopting a strategy of continuous improvement toward the elimination of these fuels.
- eBay6 is looking into alternatives to tar sands-based fuels that make business sense for eBay, including checking with fuel providers to see if they have any commitments or intentions to avoid refineries that take tar sands inputs.
- Patagonia7 is supporting environmental groups taking action on the tar sands issue with a grants program and various communication channels to inform customers about the devastation caused by tar sands extraction and distribution.
- Actions by Quiksilver8, Gap Inc.9, Levi Strauss & Co.10, Timberland11 and FedEx12 are not specifically focused on Canada's tar sands, but they are relevant because fuels from tar sands are higher in carbon and other environmental and social impacts than conventional fuels. And each of these companies has said, in its own way, that it wants to reduce the environmental and social impacts of transporting products.
- Bed Bath & Beyond13 asked all transportation providers to avoid fuels that would counter Bed Bath & Beyond's goal of reducing its carbon emissions.
- Avon14 has asked its transportation providers to avoid high impact fuels such as those from the tar sands.
- American Eagle Outfitters15 has asked its transportation partners to share more information with regards to their practices to reduce fuel consumption and minimize reliance on the most carbon-intensive forms of fuel, including fuel derived from tar sands.
- Columbia Sportswear16 has asked its transportation providers to disclose their efforts to avoid high-impact fuels, such as those from Canada’s tar sands
- LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics17 has required its transportation providers to avoid fuel from US refineries connected to Canada's tar sands.
- Fifth & Pacific Companies, Inc. (formerly Liz Claiborne Inc.)18 has adopted a new policy of encouraging its transportation providers to eliminate high carbon fuels such as those from Canada's tar sands.
- The City of Bellingham19 (one of two US gateway cities for Canada's tar sands) also has a goal of reducing environmental and social impacts – including carbon emissions – so it adopted new guidelines that require minimizing its fuel purchasing from refineries taking feed stock from Canada’s tar sands.
- The City of Burlington, VT20 (located near the route of a proposed tar sands pipeline) has declared its support for policies phasing out fuel purchases as quickly as possible from vendors whose refinery sources of origin use any form of tar sands.
We look forward to speaking with more companies and cities about their consumption of high impact fuels such as those from Canada's tar sands. We are confident that more big buyers of transporation services and fuel – in their own way – will follow the leadership examples of Walgreens, Chiquita, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Seventh Generation, eBay, Patagonia, Quiksilver, Gap Inc., Levi Strauss & Co., Timberland, Bed Bath & Beyond, FedEx, Avon, American Eagle Outfitters, Columbia Sportswear, LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, Fifth & Pacific Companies, Inc. (formerly Liz Claiborne Inc.), the City of Bellingham and the City of Burlington, VT.
1 Weber, Bob. "More major U.S. corporations join boycott of Alberta oilsands fuels," Canadian Press, 27 August 2010.
2 Letter dated November 21, 2011, from Chiquita to ForestEthics. Download the letter >>
5 Company email to ForestEthics, January 17, 2012.
6 Company email to ForestEthics, August 6, 2012.
7 Company email to ForestEthics, November 6, 2013.
8 “[O]ur preference is to avoid using fuels with feedstocks from oil sands, as fuels derived from these feedstocks presumptively have higher than normal greenhouse gas footprints and environmental and social impacts.” – Company email to ForestEthics, December 2, 2011.
9 "As part of Gap Inc.'s commitment to reduce its overall environmental footprint, and to guide its selection of transportation providers, we have asked potential transportation providers who want to work with Gap Inc. to provide some details about what they are doing – or planning to do – to eliminate high carbon-intensive fuels." – Company email to customers, August 27, 2010.
10 "Levi Strauss & Co. informed all transportation providers that we will give preference to low-carbon fuels and transportation services with lower-than-normal greenhouse gas footprints and environmental and social impacts." – Company email to ForestEthics, August 24, 2010.
12 Weber, Bob. "More major U.S. corporations join boycott of Alberta oilsands fuels," Canadian Press, 27 August 2010.
13 Letter dated February 11, 2010, from Bed Bath & Beyond to all its transportation service providers.
17 "We attempted to identify sources for the fuel that we purchase, primarily in the U.S., and work to lessen or minimize purchasing fuel from vendors that were deriving their feedstock from the tarsands," said Concord vice-president Richard Brooks. Brooks said that effort began after a request from a Concord's customer, Lush Cosmetics.