Esso- Petrol Pariah

18th August, 2001

Campaigners from Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, People & Planet and the Green Party will be blockading the Esso distribution terminal in Erdington on Saturday 18th August. The Stop Esso campaign, going under the banner of the "People's Climate Lobby" are blockading the terminal to draw attention to Esso's appalling record on action against climate change and are asking people to boycott the company until they clean up their act. Showing the way themselves, they'll be driving a truck powered by renewable, cleaner biodiesel.

Alone of the major oil companies, Esso are denying the link between fossil fuel use and global warming – a link accepted by an international scientific consensus. As well as using bad science to muddy an issue threatening the future of our planet, they're not above taking direct action to protect their profits. They gave more than a million dollars to George Bush to support his presidential campaign – more than any other oil company – and ran a series of newspaper adverts condemning the Kyoto Treaty. The recently signed Kyoto Treaty set global targets for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and was signed by 178 countries. Bush, and the US, simply refused. Finally, they've dug into their position; not one dollar of their huge profits (last year, $12 billion, the biggest recorded company profit ever) goes into researching clean, renewable energy. Even BP and Shell do better than that.

The Stop Esso campaign aims to raise awareness of Esso's prioritisation of profits over planet, and to encourage people to hit Esso where it hurts: the pocket.

We're asking people and organisations to boycott Esso until Esso take three steps toward global responsibility:

1) Stop using their money to buy political decisions about environmental matters – either by campaign donations or direct advertising.

2) Stop the campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt. Esso's scientific studies rank alongside the tobacco companies' denial of the cigarette/cancer connection for crude bias; all they do is weaken political and public resolve to act on global warming

3) Follow the lead of other oil companies and start investing some of their profits in the search for new, clean renewable energy sources.

Jeremy Beacock of Birmingham Friends of the Earth said:

"Esso are jeopardising all our futures; if I had a car, I'd boycott them, but as it is, I'll be demonstrating against their indifference to the fate of the planet!"

Nick Whittingham of the Green Party said: "Esso say they are acting in the interests of the economy – but how can increased floods, hurricanes, disease and crop failures benefit the economy? It's only their profits they're protecting"

Editor's Notes

  • Biodiesel is a diesel substitute made from a variety of plant sources including recycled cooking oil and oilseed rape. It therefore comes from renewable sources, and has a much better greenhouse gas profile. Martin Steele, biodiesel expert, is available for further information on alternatives to fossil fuels: see numbers above.
  • Media Briefing on the campaign to boycott Esso available from
  • Stop Esso is an umbrella organisation of several environmental pressure groups: Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and People & Planet.
  • A detailed climate change briefing as well as background for the Kyoto protocol can be found on the UK Friends of the Earth site,
  • Pledges to boycott Esso so far have come from: Bianca Jagger, Annie Lennox (singer/songwriter), Linus Roache (actor), Jerome Flynn (actor, musician), Goldie (musician/artist), William Roache (actor), Ronny Jordan (jazz musician), Edward Goldsmith (The Ecologist), Jeremy Thomas (film producer), Eski Thomas (screenwriter), Julien Temple (film director), Amanda Temple (film producer), Sacha Puttnam on behalf of the band Bush, Darren Johnson (GLA), Tony Lloyd MP (Labour), Simon Thomas MP (Plaid Cymru), The Body Shop (Anita and Gordon Roddick), Dan Morell (Future Forests), Keith Allen (comedian/actor), Damien Hirst (artist).