As activists try to figure out what the revival of the Keystone XL pipeline issue really means, an interesting new front is expanding in the fight against these most destructive of fossil fuels. ForestEthics reports that Chiquita Bananas has become the latest in a long line of major brands that is pledging to boycott oil from tar sands.
When Walgreens and Gap announced they would try to avoid tar sands oil, Mat already explored whether it was even possible to boycott particular sources of oil. Given that liquid fuels are traded as a commodity, he explained, there is not the usual direct link between source, processor and end user that you might find with other resources and products.
Nevertheless, as more and more companies set greenhouse gas reduction targets and publicly commit to cutting their impact, those commitments will play out in a number of ways. The primary push must be through clean energy, efficiency and conservation like IKEA's recent solar expansion and EV charging installations, and Fed Ex's investments in fuel efficiency and EVs. But when corporations are tracking their specific carbon footprint, asking fuel suppliers to avoid the worst-of-the-worst sources of fossil fuels will also be an important interim measure.
So which brand is going to be next to ditch the dirty tar sands?
As an aside it should be noted, of course, that Chiquita Bananas are hardly a whiter-than-white corporation themselves. While efforts have been made to clean up the banana giant's act, it is facing a law suit over 4000 murders by Chiquita-funded paramilitaries in Colombia. Whether you view this stance against tar sands as a step toward ethical business and corporate responsibility, or corporate greenwash and an attempt to shift the blame, will depend on your point of view.
Either way, it certainly won't help the cause of Big Oil. And that's got to be a good thing.