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Waitrose Caves to Greenpeace, Puts Shell Deal On Ice

Waitrose has stalled plans to expand its partnership with Shell, in a victory for Greenpeace, which has been pressing the UK supermarket to abandon the partnership because of the oil company’s plans to drill in the Arctic.

In a blog Greenpeace writes that after only 12 days — and 40,000 emails, store visits, a spoof YouTube video, hundreds of angry Facebook posts, “a social media meltdown” and a life-size polar bear at the Islington, London store — Waitrose has “put its partnership with Arctic oil drillers Shell on ice.”

The retailer has opened two pilot stores in Shell gas stations, and had planned to open more across the UK in 2013. The partnership also included issuing Shell reward vouchers to Waitrose customers.

Greenpeace, which has worked with Waitrose to develop its sustainable fishing policies, said it was “shocked” that the retailer, which prides itself on its environmental initiatives, would link itself to what Greenpeace calls “one of the most destructive oil companies in the world.”

Greenpeace was one of the environmental groups that sued to stop Shell from drilling off Alaska, and declared victory after a damaged containment forced Shell to abandon its 2012 oil drilling efforts.

Over the summer Greenpeace created a bogus social media response team, supposedly representing Shell, that pretended to battle the spread of fake ads emanating from a hoax Shell web site, ArcticReady.com, also set up by the activist group. The hoax site, which uses the Shell logo and branding, criticizes the company’s plans to drill in the Arctic.

Earlier this week, Greenpeace published a study that said textile suppliers for Levi’s, Zara and many other global clothing brands likely dump a wide range of hazardous chemicals into China’s wastewater systems. Previous Greenpeace investigations into apparel have forced sustainability commitments from Zara, Puma, Nike and Adidas, among others.

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