Enviro-campaigners hi-jack chef’s online Q&A

DELIA SMITH has become embroiled in a high profile spat between Waitrose and Greenpeace.


This weekend, campaigners hi-jacked an online Q&A session with the celebrity chef asking her about Waitrose’s new partnership with Shell.


The environmental group is “disappointed” with the supermarket’s link up with Shell, the oil giant, to offer fuel promotions and trial outlets at two forecourts.


Smith, who has fronted Waitrose advertising since 2010 with Heston Blumenthal, chose to ignore comments such as: “Hey Delia, I was looking for a way to marinade [sic] a polar bear but see Waitrose’s new partner Shell has the answer.”


A video on the campaign website also sabotages the supermarket’s Christmas ad featuring Smith and Blumenthal.


Waitrose has built its reputation on ethics and sustainability, but its tie-up with Shell, which is planning to drill for oil in the Arctic, could damage its reputation.


Nearly 30,000 people have now signed a petition asking the supermarket to drop the partnership. A blog on the Greenpeace website reads: “Waitrose has built its reputation on the ethical and sustainable sourcing of its products and ‘giving back’ to the communities it operates in. We’ve done fantastic work with Waitrose on our Oceans’ campaign which is why it’s so disappointing that they’ve decided to partner up with Shell.”


Waitrose has played down its relationship with Shell. A statement on its website reads:


“We put as much thought and careful consideration into our relationships with other businesses as into everything we do. Having said that, in the context of Shell worldwide, the arrangement we have with them is small. 


If you have questions about specific aspects of Shell’s business we suggest you contact them. However, we understand the US Government has decided to allow exploration in the Arctic and that Shell won the contract for this work. Environmental issues are of great importance to Waitrose and Shell has assured us that they will meet US legislation and international conventions, operating with respect for the environment and for the people who live in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions.”


Shell is one of a number of companies that is looking to open up a “new oil frontier” in the arctic, and extract 90 billion barrels of oil. Greenpeace says the move could be environmentally disastrous, especially if there is a spill.