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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Palm Oil Direct Action Protest

Dear Hannah,

It has now been two weeks since I emailed requesting a copy of the audit trails for your Palm Oil products; whilst I appreciate your organisation telling me that my query will be answered, you have so far failed to provide any time scale and I am now concerned that you will not provide anything to satisfy concerns that your Palm Oil based products are sustainably sourced.

I remind you that it was over 18 months ago since I had the first exchange of correspondence regarding biofuels. Since then your organisation has also claimed in the Independent that, "it already ensures full traceability back to crude palm oil." If this is true, it should therefore be a trivial job to provide the audit trail that I am asking.

We take your lack of response as acknowledgement that you are unable or unwilling to demonstrate your Palm Oil products are sustainably sourced. Please take this email as notification that a direct action campaign will start to highlight your continued sale of Palm Oil products and the environmental devastation this causes.

In the meantime, some sites that you may wish to visit so you are in no doubt of the seriousness of the issue:-

Anti Dove products


"When we saw the big male approaching our camp we were afraid. So we quickly ran over to him and doused him with petrol and set him on fire.” Fermin, Bulldozer driver in clearance camp

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Audit trail for Palm Oil

Dear Paul, 

Thank you for your update and we look forward to Hannah's response. Hannah could perhaps be as kind as to give us a time frame for providing the traceability paths back to your crude Palm Oil.

To help you with this we have already started our audit of products on your shelves. However, rather regrettably, we note Tesco's own brand products that use vegetable oil, do not specify what type of vegetable oil is being used.

As your products do not even state what type of vegetable oil is being used, I am worried that you will not be able to provide the traceability that your quote in the Independent suggests. I trust that you can reassure me by providing an initial listing of what items contain Palm Oil, and in particular the percentage of Palm Oil that is being added to your biofuel sales.

I further trust that you will extend this investigate into other brands that you sell. For example, Jordan acknowledges palm oil in their ingredients.

We look forwards to your prompt reply.

Kevin Lister

--- On Mon, 18/1/10, Tesco Customer Service  wrote:

From: Tesco Customer Service
Subject: Tesco
Date: Monday, 18 January, 2010, 16:34

Dear Mr Lister

Thank you for your email addressed to Sir Terry Leahy, our Chief Executive, to which I have been asked to reply.

I appreciate you taking the time to contact us with further questions regarding the use of palm oil in biofuels. Please be advised that Hannah Clare, our Corporate Responsibility Manager, is currently looking into your email, and will be replying to you directly.

Thank you for your continued patience.

Kind Regards

Paul Milligan
Customer Service Executive

Monday, January 18, 2010

Police unprepared to act on environemental fraud

Dear Inspector Chester ,

Thank you for your reply, however your arguments and final conclusions do not recognise the reality of the situation.

Your point 1 says that there has to be an "Acteus Reus," and you conclude that the deed has not yet been done. However, the deed has clearly been done and the evidence is unequivocal. Planning permission has been sought and granted by Tewkesbury Council on the basis of the claim that the CO2 limits will not exceed 4000 tonnes per annum. Yet, Cheltenham and Gloucester Councils approved a business plan that makes no reference to the 4,000 tonnes CO2 limit and they have now provided millions of pounds of taxpayer backed loans to the airport. They have backed this loan on the basis that the Councils will make a significant return on their investment. It is impossible for them to make this return whilst staying within the 4000 tonnes CO2 limit. The airport directors, including Councillor Les Godwin, are fully aware of this and it is for this reason they deliberately omitted reference to the 4000 tonnes in the business plan. Under the Fraud Act 2006, section 3, "failing to disclose the information — to make a gain for himself or another," is fraud.

As further evidence that the deed has been done, the airport is currently pursuing purchases of land at the end of the runway and a status report to the councils of Gloucester and Cheltenham stated that these negotiation are underway.

Your point 2 claims that the flights are only "assumed." You have taken this word out of context. The word is used to make an estimate of the number of working weeks per year, it does not make a judgement of the actual number of flights. The actual number of additional flights was referenced in section 10.9.1 of the business plan that was submitted to the councils, and is attached with this email. The business plan states "One additional landing per day is a modest assumption for Year 4, two landings per day for Year 5."

In both cases, the word “assumed” refers to a lower limit. Even this lower limit results in the CO2 levels massively exceeding the 4000 tonnes.

Your point also misses the evidence presented by the airport in their business case that they intended to increase dividend payments by a factor of 32. This will clearly be impossible if the CO2 emissions are to increase by no more than 6%.

Your Point 3 does not recognise the realities of the challenges that we face in making carbon cuts. The science is unequivocal in its position that we cannot carry on with a business as usual approach and that it is totally false to assume that an increase in emissions in one area can be managed out as part of a nationwide CO2 budgeting programme. It was for precisely this reason that that a CO2 ceiling was imposed on the airport as a condition for planning through the Green Management Plan.

Your point does not alter the fundamental fact that the main condition of planning has been cynically disregarded in the granting of millions of pounds of tax payer backed loans.

Your point 4 says that "In future, planes will have to become more efficient. Therefore my report is based on an assumption." However, efficiency gains are limited by the basics of physics and thermodynamics, and planes are now fully optimised with only very small improvements possible in the future. These improvements will in no way achieve the 80% cuts in CO2 emissions that we need, especially in the face of airport expansion. I therefore put it to you that it is you who is making the false assumption that a massive increase in the efficiency of planes will happen within the next few years.

You conclude by saying "A criminal prosecution would be a waste of public money." This is absolutely wrong. Climate change is the defining issue of our time, yet action to minimise CO2 emissions is undermined by those organisations who have disproportionate power and vested interests in preventing change. Those organisations lie and subvert normal process, as evidenced by the actions of the directors of Gloucestershire Airport . These acts represent “false representation to make gain” in the purest sense and as such are fraudulent as defined by the Fraud Act 2006.
In this case the Directors of the Airport have sought gain (Planning permission and council tax payer backed loans) by both withholding information and submitting false representations.

It is therefore absolutely in the public interest for this fraud case to be pursued. Many members of the public have tried argument; writing to elected representatives and got nowhere. They have then been forced to take direct action through peaceful protest and have suffered arrest, often under tenuous circumstances and through misapplication of the law. Yet those same people now have to watch the police and CPS standing by when a fraudulent act is clearly being committed.

A failure not to proceed with prosecution demonstrates a judicial and policing system that is biased towards protection of large carbon emitting businesses, rather than upholding the law and providing the protection that society needs to ensure the environment is not further sacrificed. It is after all, the quality of the environment that is the most critical factor to our society. Failure to act sets a dangerous precedent as we move into far deeper and more serious issues as a consequence of runaway climate change.


Kevin Lister

--- On Fri, 15/1/10, Chester, Stephen wrote:

From: Chester, Stephen

Subject: FW: Fraud at Gloucestershire Airport

To: "''"

Date: Friday, 15 January, 2010, 15:30

Dear Mr Lister,

As promised, I have looked into the possibility of prosecuting executives at Gloucestershire Airport, based on the evidence contained in the report you have written. I have consulted the Force Solicitor and the Detective Chief Inspector. I am afraid that Police will not be investigating this matter for the following reasons:-

1- For the offence of Fraud to occur there has to be an 'Acteus Reus', i.e. the deed has to have been done. It clearly has not (yet). Therefore no act=no fraud.

2- Page 2 of the report has the word 'assume' towards the number of flights. Clearly one cannot base an offence on a future unknown.

3 -As Government has to make 'Carbon Emission Savings', any increase in emissions from Gloucestershire Airport will form part of our National output and will have to be offset elsewhere.

4 - In future, aeroplanes, as motorcars will have to become more efficent. Therefore, your report is again based on assumption.

The report will be better addressed to Planning and Environmental Officers, as the burden of proof required under civil law is "balance of probabilities" and not, as with criminal law, "beyond all reasonable doubt". There is no prospect of a successful criminal prosecution in this case, and I believe a Police investigation would be fruitless, and a waste of public money.

I am sorry I cannot be of more help.


Steve Chester

Cheltenham Road East Police Station (CRE)

Gloucestershire Constabulary

+ Churchdown, Gloucester, GL3 1HX

( 0845 090 1234, ext 5282, or 01452 714256

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tescos use of Palm Oil

Dear Sir Terry,

I am writing to you following the previous correspondence that I had regarding your continued sale of biofuels.

The conclusion of the previous debate that I had with your organisation was that you were going to continue with Greenergy and continue selling biofuels, despite the overwhelming evidence of environmental degradation and human rights abuses that follows in the wake of these developments. Your Andrew Slight stated on 3rd Dec 2008 “Our aim [is to] ensure that our biofuels are responsibly sourced.”

I would also remind you that in the previous correspondence you admitted to using Palm Oil in your biofuels. As you should be aware, this is associated with large scale deforestation and human rights abuses in Indonesia . You previously said that “Greenergy asks suppliers to sign a sustainability commitment as part of their contract. This is monitored and can be audited at any time."However, despite my requests this was never forthcoming.

Given the time that has now passed since the last correspondence, I trust that you are now able to demonstrate your biofuel is responsibility sourced and that you can now provide an appropriately robust audit trail.

I also note that in an Independent report on Palm Oil they quoted your position on palm oil in Tesco’s own brand products, “As members of the RSPO we are committed to the growth and use of sustainable palm oil and already ensure full traceability back to crude palm oil from RSPO members - we are also committed to certified oil and are creating systems to deliver this for the derivatives in our products.”

Given the RSPO is made up of companies dedicated to the expansion of palm oil production and its credibility as an overseer of sustainable practises is zero, your statement does not give any cause for reassurance. However, I would request that you provide full details of the path back to the crude palm oil that you have referenced.

So that you are in no doubt of the seriousness of this issue, I refer you to the recent documentary that the Community Channel showed, Lost in Palm Oil.

To help you in developing your audit trail, over the next couple of weeks we will be documenting all the products on your shelves that contain Palm Oil products.


Kevin Lister

Monday, January 04, 2010

Full text of letter sent to the Times

Dear Editor,
Your selection of Greenergy for second place in "Britain's green rich list" (Sunday Times, 27th Dec 2009) flies in the face of the overwhelming evidence that large scale biofuel production is a solution to either climate change or peak oil and merely supports the successful greenwash campaign of the biofuel industry.
It has been overwhelmingly demonstrated that the energy and CO2 emissions associated with growing, harvesting, transporting and land clearance for biofuel far exceed any benefits. The Gallagher report also made absolutely clear that even if biofuel production did not directly lead to environmental destruction through activities such as tropical rainforest clearance, then the indirect effects due to displacement of food production were just as bad.
Greenergy is part owned by Tesco and also a major supplier of biofuel to Tesco. Shortly after Tesco's acquisition of Greenergy they claimed, "Tesco are already the UK's largest supplier of biofuel and aim to double the amount sold."  I organised an email protest against the catastrophic environmental destruction this would inevitably cause through my blog, and we challenged Tesco to demonstrate that their biofuels, and hence Greenergy's, were environmentally sustainable.
Tesco totally failed. They attempted to commission a £5million study with the Sustainable Consumption Institute at Manchester University to validate their's and Greenergy's position, but so flawed is the arguement that biofuel can be sustainable they could not even agree a remit.
The end result was that Tesco withdrew the claims on its web site with a statement that they recognised their initial enthusiasm for biofuel was misplaced. However as a result of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), which the biofuel industry so successfully lobbied for, they continue to sell unsustainable biofuel and profiteer from their continued shareholding of Greenergy.