Lush and Avon add fuel to growing tar sand controversy

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Petroleum

Cosmetics companies Lush and Avon have joined a growing number of large businesses that have publicly expressed concerns, and asked providers to avoid high impact fuels such as those from the Canadian tar sands (sometimes known as oil sands).

Production of tar sands oil destroys Canada's Boreal Forest and fresh water, pollutes the air, and generates more global warming pollution than conventional oil production, according to campaign group ForestEthics.

Communities downstream and downwind of Tar Sands projects are facing elevated levels of rare cancers, it claimed.

Avoiding tar sand sources

Lush Canada has specifically required its fuel vendors to avoid fuel from refineries connected to the Canadian source of oil.

"Canada's Tar Sands are an unethical source of fuel for shipping LUSH products,"​ said Shama Alexander, environmental officer with Lush.

At the request of its customer, Lush, trucking company Concord required assurance from its fuel vendors that they were taking steps to avoid fuel from US refineries taking input from Canada's tar sands.

"Our primary transportation partners respect our ethics and are helping us remove the Tar Sands from our footprint."

US direct sales company Avon has also asked its transportation providers to avoid high impact fuels.

"Avon recognizes its responsibility to the environment and the world's forests,"​ said Tod Arbogast, vice president of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility with Avon.

"That's why we've asked our transportation partners to take steps that will avoid high impact, high carbon fuels such as those from the Tar Sands."

Mirroring corporate actions of others

The actions taken by Avon, Lush and Concord mirror those taken by other large companies at the request of ForestEthics.

"Large buyers of fuel and transportation services are strengthening their resolve against Canada's dirty tar sands oil,"​ explained Aaron Sanger, director of US Campaigns at ForestEthics.

"The US market for this increasingly controversial product is becoming more uncertain."

To date, ten major companies and one US city have publicly announced actions that either specifically focus on Canada's tar sands or create standards that will limit fuels such as those from the tar sands.

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