Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Boycott sets sights on secondary, not primary, targets

July 2009

A new boycott campaign on the extraction of oil sands is homing in on companies that are only indirectly related to the business.

The Ethical Consumer Research Association is urging consumers to stop buying products from ten companies that ‘profit from oil sands’ – but not against the oil businesses themselves. It says targetting of the latter would not be practical because all oil firms are investing in the sector.

The boycott list includes: Caterpillar, Hitachi and the Liebherr fridge company, which all make trucks that are used in oil sands extraction; Superdrug and mobile phone brand 3, owned by the Hong Kong company Hutchison Whampao, an oil sands investor; and Barclays, HSBC and RBS, because they are heavily involved in financing oil sands exploitation.

The association says targeting the ten UK businesses listed will make it ‘easy for [consumers] to declare [their] opposition’ because they are ‘right on [their] doorstep’ and easily avoided, unlike many oil companies.

The move follows the Co-operative Bank’s recent decision to avoid business with any entity linked to unconventional oil sources, including oil sands. The bank is also funding a legal battle conducted by the indigenous people of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation in Canada, who claim that work on oil sands has effectively removed their legal rights as aborigines to hunt and fish in the extraction areas.

Oil sands, also called tar sands, release three times as many carbon dioxide emissions as normal oil production and cause the world’s fastest deforestation after that in the Amazon rainforest region.

Ethical Consumer Research Association | Global | Environment

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