As a Province that has just spent millions to convince tourists to visit her pristine vistas, Alberta can’t be too happy with the new campaign from Corporate Ethics.  “Rethink Alberta” billboards are going up in Seattle, Portland, Denver and Minneapolis that compare the tar sands to the BP Blowout oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The ads lead to to, a website featuring a hard-hitting 96-second YouTube video that shows some choice stats and shots that make a pretty damning case against tar sands development.

In one particularly frightening quote, James Hansen, an eminent climatologist from NASA, has said they if the tar sands are exploited fully, it’s essentially game over for global warming.

For those who agree with this conclusion, it stands to reason that the ends justify almost any means in a campaign to stop this disaster.

But a strategy designed to punish one sector to effect change in another has implications for all businesses. Think about your supply chain, your government and any local issues that may be the target of some future anti-advertising campaign. Are there areas where your business could be affected by a boycott? How would you respond? Especially if you agreed with the proponents of the campaign? (Should the owner of an eco-tourism operation in Alberta be punished for the policies of his government?)

The Green Briefs Two Bits:

As business becomes globalized, so does protest. More groups will link broad leveraged action with their causes, so know your supply chain, keep your own corporate policies transparent and be ready to respond if you get caught in the middle. Then be ready to make hay from any publicity opportunity. Our fictional Alberta Eco Tour operator could probably get airtime by offering a Tar Sands Tour complete with a protest stop at the Alberta Legislature. Then again, by doing that they might become the target of roving gangs of pickup-driving Alberta tar-lovers. Oops, was that my outside voice?

You can link to a fairly balanced Alberta newspaper article about the campaign here, and form your own no doubt equally balanced opinion.

Take a look here for the Calgary Herald newspaper’s tit-for-tat retort.

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