In Canada there are great swathes of ancient forest that are being destroyed in the quest to find fossil fuels as more traditional oil sources start to become scarce.
The ground beneath these forests is made up of sticky bitumen mixed with sand and clay - known as the tar sands. To extract the oil in the tar sands, the earth must be stripped of its woodland, dug up and boiled with fresh water and natural gas, the oil within can then be processed and refined, with the toxic wastewater being pumped into huge lagoons. A massively energy intensive process that produces an estimated three to five times the carbon of traditional oil production.
What did this have to with Lush in the UK? At the time of the campaign many UK banks were funding the production of tar sands oil and despite only very small amounts of tar sands oil making their way to the UK, if the oil manufacturers had their way it could end up being a lot more, despite the European parliament considering banning the sale of tar sands oil in the EU under the Fuel Quality Directive. As Canadian officials and oil lobbyists were trying to overturn this law
One way to try and stop the dirty oil ending up being sold in the EU was to lobby back and make sure that MEPs knew that people didn't want it here. After all the government had promised to invest more in renewable sources of energy and become the greenest government ever.
Once again Lush shop windows were brought into play with displays alerting customers to the problem of tar sands oil and the environmental costs of extracting it. Customers were encouraged to petition their MEP by signing a flyer in store that Lush would forward for them and a molasses and aloe vera shower product, designed to resemble oil, called ‘sweet and shower’ was sold in store to raise funds for groups campaigning against Canadian tar sands.
On Thursday the 3rd March 2011, to raise awareness of the tar sands problem further and get the media to notice, report on the problem and bring it to even more peoples attention, Lush shops UK wide demonstrated. In the window of the shops a staff member stood in a barrel, was draped with the Canadian flag and covered with molasses to represent oil. A visual spectacle guaranteed to raise awareness and indeed it did.