Greenpeace forces Waitrose to re-evaluate its commercial ties with Shell and Arctic oil exploration

After only 12 days of an intensive campaign, Waitrose has announced it has put its partnership with Arctic oil drillers Shell on ice.

Following 40,000 emails, several store visits, one spoof video, hundreds of Facebook posts, a social media meltdown, and the appearance of a life-size polar bear at their Islington store, Waitrose has declared support for the protection of the fragile Arctic.

All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace

All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace

Waitrose recently opened two pilot stores in Shell forecourts with a view to rolling out the ‘new joint format’ more widely. In a press statement this summer Shell said ‘the plan is to expand [the project] later this year’. Waitrose also sold 13 petrol stations to Shell at its out of town superstores.

Greenpeace said that when they heard of the partnership, they were shocked. They have worked closely with Waitrose in the past to help them source fish more sustainably. The company has built its brand on its environmental credentials and know that many of its customers make an ethical choice to shop there.

Shell, by contrast, is one of the most destructive oil companies in the world. This summer Shell tried (and failed) to drill for oil in the Arctic, after a catalogue of disasters which included breaking the oil spill response equipment during testing. But Shell plans to continue next year, putting at risk one of the last pristine ecosystems on the planet and the unique creatures that live there, including polar bears, narwhals and Arctic foxes.

So just under two weeks ago Greenpeace launched a campaign, asking Waitrose to dump Shell and to stop helping these toxic oil-drillers look in any way respectable.

Greenpeace say they had an amazing response and Waitrose yesterday told them it would not be extending its pilot stores on Shell forecourts in 2013. The company has also announced support for protection of the Arctic, saying: “we share the view that the Arctic should be declared a sanctuary by the United Nations.”

Source: Greenpeace News Release, 12th December 2012

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