Not boycotting oilsands, 3 U.S. firms say

The Gap, Levi Strauss and Timberland say they aren't boycotting the use of fuels from the Alberta oilsands.

'One factor among dozens,' Gap VP says

Three American companies say they aren't boycotting the use of fuels from the Alberta oilsands.

On Friday, it was widely reported that The Gap, Levi Strauss and Timberland had told their transportation companies that preference would be given to those that avoided using oilsands fuels.

A spokesman for The Gap said the company is not boycotting the oilsands. "It's absolutely untrue and inaccurate to portray it that way," Bill Chandler, the clothing retailer's vice-president of corporate communications, said Monday from San Francisco.

In Canada, The Gap has asked potential transportation contractors for more information about the fuel they use, but it has not said how this will factor into company decisions — if at all, Chandler said. 

"It's one factor among dozens that will be considered. But this is really a standard request for information. We haven't taken any further action; don't anticipate taking any further action."

When contacted by CBC News on the weekend, spokeswomen for Levi Strauss and Timberland said they were also not boycotting any particular type of fuel.

"Levi Strauss & Co. supports the development and use of clean and renewable fuel sources, but we do not take a position opposing or supporting any fuel or energy source from any country or geography," Levi Strauss spokeswoman Genevieve Sexton said in an emailed statement.

"We expect our transportation service providers to demonstrate a similar commitment to environmental sustainability and emissions reduction, and have made these expectations part of our contracts with transportation providers.

"We have not stated any requirements for how our transportation contractors will achieve emissions reductions or put stipulations on where they source their fuel."

Walgreens switching suppliers

A spokeswoman for Timberland, Robin Giampa, told CBC News in an email that the company has asked its transportation contractors to show how they have increased their use of "low carbon fuels and avoiding carbon-intensive sources" but that does not mean the company is boycotting a "type or source of fuel."

Last week, American drugstore chain Walgreens announced it was switching suppliers that provide fuel for its delivery trucks to ensure they don't use gasoline sourced from the oilsands.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach vowed Friday to write to the companies involved in the boycotts.

The news of the boycotts prompted the Edmonton-based Alberta Enterprise Group to call on Canadian consumers to stop buying the products of these U.S. companies.

Environmental group Forest Ethics is behind the anti-oilsands initiative. The group has been trying to pressure industry and the Alberta government to reduce the oilsands' impact on the environment.

With files from The Canadian Press