Whole Foods, Bed Bath and Beyond Reject Suppliers That Use Oil From Canadian Tar Sands

Tar Sands

As the light, sweet crude oil that we rely on for many of our everyday activities becomes more scarce, companies have started to increasingly turn to a toxic alternative: fuel from Canada’s Tar Sands. But now two major companies–Whole Foods and Bed Bath and Beyond–have taken a stand against buying from suppliers that rely on oil from the Tar Sands.

Fuel from the Tar Sands isn’t as easy to get to as conventional oil, so it’s more energy-intensive to retrieve it–Tar Sand oil production generates 3 to 5 times the greenhouse gas emissions of conventional oil production. There are also local environmental consequences, including fresh water contamination, air pollution, and the destruction of North America’s Boreal Forests. People living downstream from Tar Sands oil production sides also face a higher risk of cancer.

But the fuel is an easy target. Canada’s Tar Sands reserve is the largest proven oil reserve outside of Saudi Arabia. That’s why ForestEthics launched a campaign last year to get companies to quit using Tar Sand-derived oil. And so far, it’s been successful. Whole Foods has already cut all Tar Sands-linked fuel at one of its distribution centers and committed to work with ForestEthics and other organizations to replace all fuel supplies connected with Canada’s Tar Sands. Bed Bath and Beyond has also agreed to consider Tar Sands usage when evaluating potential suppliers.

Commitments from two major companies isn’t enough to stop the steady flow of Tar Sand-derived oil, but it could trigger other supply-chain conscious companies–i.e. Walmart–to join in. For corporations that increasingly rely on a “green” image, it makes sense to get as far away from Tar Sands oil as possible. Everyone else can at least claim that they are cutting down on CO2 emissions by nixing the fuel.