The open-pit Suncor Millennium Mine located north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as pictured in the March 2009 issue of National Geographic. The mine is one of many in Alberta's tar sands. By Peter Essick via nationalgeographic.com.
Guest blogger Cara Smusiak is a journalist and regular contributor to NaturallySavvy.com's Naturally Green section.
The Alberta tar sands is taking another hit as two major retailers--Whole Foods and Bed Bath & Beyond--announced on Wednesday that they are moving to avoid using the petroleum products sourced from the tar sands for transporting product, according to a ForestEthics press release.
The move comes months after environmental group ForestEthics sent a letter to Fortune 500 companies to warn that using transportation fuels sourced from the tar sands puts companies' brands at risk.Extracting oil from the tar sands produces an average of three times the carbon emissions as conventional oil, according to the WWF report Carbon Capture and Storage in the Alberta Oil Sands.
Bed Bath & Beyond's new policy reveals they plan to consult with suppliers, but it's unclear when they will actually switch to tar sands-free fuel suppliers:
Of current and particular concern . . . are fuels produced by refineries taking feedstocks from the Canadian Tar Sands. Fuels from these refineries are deemed to have higher than normal greenhouse gas footprints and environmental and social impacts. We will be following up with our service providers on this issue, through our bid process and those that we have update meetings with to continue to remind them of our position and concern.
In contrast, Whole Foods has already found one new fuel supplier, and is in the process of phasing out any use of fuels sourced from the tar sands. Their new policy states:
Whole Foods Market is committed to working towards the elimination where possible of its use of fuels produced by refineries that use feedstock from Canada's Tar Sands. This decision has already led to a change in the fuel Whole Foods Market uses for one of its distribution centers.
Whole Foods has more than 270 stores across the U.S., Canada and the U.K., while Bed Bath & Beyond has more than 1,000 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
More on the Alberta Tar Sands
Canadian Tar Sands: Still Super Dirty, Even With the Best Carbon Capture & Storage Technology
National Geographic Slams Tar Sands - Canadian Politicians Pissed
Just How Bad Are The Canadian Tar Sands? According to the Conference Board, Almost Benign