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Tar sands campaigns an indicator of 2012 NGO tactics

As I mentioned in a previous post, 2012 may be a year when campaigning NGOs refocus, catch up with Greenpeace, and begin more targeted campaigns against big business.

The example of ForestEthics and Chiquita provides a compelling warning of this.

According to the FT: “Chiquita Brands, the fruit producer, has become the latest company to move to stop using oil from Canada’s tar sands in its fuel supplies, after a campaign by an environmental group.

The decision marks the latest success for protesters against tar sands production, who say it creates more damaging pollution both locally and in terms of carbon dioxide emissions than conventional oil.”

What’s interesting to me is how campaigns which start small, such as this one, can grow quickly and present an issue to be managed by companies who might think they have no immediate connection with an area such as tar sands. Chiquita being a good example of this. The FT notes that:

“Chiquita’s move brings to 15 the number of companies that have announced policies expected to cut or end their use of tar sands oil, including Avon, Walgreen and Trader Joe’s, Mr Sanger said”.

2012, given the no doubt high profile disappointment of Rio +20 in June, will undoubtedly see many more large companies suddenly needing to take a position on difficult issues with a deadline. Get ready for another bumpy year.

1 Comment

  1. The tenacity of ForestEthics has to be admired (they’ve been at this quixotic campaign for a while), but boycotting gasoline derived from tar sands remains a big ask for companies operating fleets in the U.S.A. It’s like asking a motorist only to fill up from designated pumps which are few and very far between. The campaigners would be the first to agree that they have a considerable way to go before they can reach the critical mass of corporate supporters.
    Peter T. Knight
    Context America