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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Email Correspondence with Tesco "Customer Service Exec" on Biofuels

Dear Helen, (Tesco Customer Service Executive)

I have been forwarded an email from a friend of mine on Tesco's position on biofuels giving your reply to questions raised on biofuel supply.

I am appalled by your response which blatantly distorts the truth of one of the most serious situations to ever face our planet and provides unjustified and naive assurances.

You claim that Tescos only use a "small amount of palm oil." Can you confirm exactly what is meant by a small amount. Is it one tonne or 1000 tonnes or more?

You say that sustainability has been assured by the "Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil." I have looked at the membership of this group and it is wholly comprised of producers and traders in palm oil, some of which have already been implicated in environmental damage. How do you possibly expect a group such as this to put the sustainability of the tropical rain forest above production of biofuel and how do you justify accepting their assurances. Have you checked to see on what scientific grounds they justify sustainablity?

You say that the majority of your biofuel is sourced from rape seed. What environmental assessments have Tescos made of this and could you be kind enough to send me a copy of your assessment report?

You say that your supplier "is in the process of building a manufacturing plant for bio diesel." Can you confirm where this is being built, as most are currently located near ports for easy import of palm oil and sugar beet. If the plant to is be supplied solely from UK grown rape seed, can you confirm what total agricultural land area will be used to maintain its supply, what food production it will displace and the environmental impacts of growing this food elsewhere, and how much set aside will be lost?

I enclose a copy of presentation that is currently on wide circulation. I look forward to you addressing the serious points that it raises.

A copy of this email will be posted on my blog,


From: "XXXXX"

To: "'Tesco Customer Service'"


Subject: RE: TescoDate: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 10:17:12 -0000ReTES4658655X

Dear Helen

I appreciate you taking the time to respond to me and I am reassured to hear that the production of the crops are 'sustainable.'

My concern is that the more land set aside for fuel oil substituteproduction the less land there is for human and animal food production. The production of biofuels also encourages more deforestation - and our planetis already quite ill through deforestation. It is clear from your response Tesco has no intention of pursuing a truly long term green agenda. There is no short term profit motive to do so.

Global warm regards!


-----Original Message-----From: Tesco Customer Service [] Sent: 29 January 2008 17:13
Subject: Tesco

Dear Ms XXXX

Thank you for your email. I can appreciate your concerns and I am pleased to offer you the following information.

Tesco are at the forefront in the UK of retailing unleaded and diesel fuelscontaining bio fuels made from sustainable resources. These fuels are nowavailable in around 180 forecourts in the South East and North West ofEngland, where they have replaced conventional fuels at no extra cost.

The majority of bio diesel we use to blend into our fuel is made fromrapeseed oil. Our supplier is in the process of building a manufacturingplant for bio diesel in the UK and this will be supplied with mostlyUK-grown rapeseed. A small amount of palm oil will be used. However, I can assure you that this has been sourced from suppliers who are members of theRoundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to explain our current positionregarding this matter. If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us at quoting TES4658655X.

Kind Regards,
Helen Duke
Tesco Customer Service Executive

From: XXXXX[mailto:XXXXXXX]
Sent: 27 January 2008 21:11
To: Leahy, TerrySubject: Biofuels

Dear Mr Leahy,

I am writing to urge you and your organisation to stop the selling and development of biofuels.

Biofuels are not a 'green' alternative to oil. The production of biofuels is as destructive to the planet as oil is -if not more so as it requires even more destruction of rain forests. Our generation is responsible for the long term survival of this planet- choices based on short term profit do nothing but push the planet on a faster track towards destruction. It would be wonderful if Tesco could take the lead in sustainabledevelopment - your company certainly has the resources to do this.

Warm regards
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