By John Donovan
I feared that the John Lewis UK department store chain, which also owns Waitrose Supermarkets, was in danger of slipping off it ethical trading platform when it announced plans to get into bed with the scandal-ridden oil giant, Shell.
It is worth remembering that Shell conspired directly with Hitler, financed the Nazi Party, was anti-Semitic and sold out its own Dutch Jewish employees to the Nazis. It has plundered and polluted in Nigeria for several decades. Shell has also defrauded its own shareholders. Its ethical track record is the worst of any company in existence.
Waitrose launched a cut price gasoline promotion linked with Shell and announced plans to open convenience stores in Shell gasoline stations across the UK.
The Supermarket chain initially retreated somewhat in the face of fierce criticism from Greenpeace, but has continued with the 5p per litre discount offer on Shell petrol.
It seems the long term ethical malaise at Royal Dutch Shell may be contagious, because John Lewis has now stoked a PR disaster by effectively demanding money with menaces (a rebate) from its suppliers. It has put the squeeze on its business partners, just as Shell has in the past with its franchisees.
According to a Daily Telegraph article, the rebate, described by one source as “outrageous,” is retrospective, immediate and mandatory.
What was it that Benjamin Franklin said: “”He that lieth down with Dogs, shall rise up with Fleas.”?
John Lewis puts squeeze on suppliers (FT article containing statement by John Lewis)