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Jamie Oliver’s £5million deal with Shell despite years of green campaigning

By Tom Bryant Head Of Showbiz: 17 December 2018

Jamie Oliver has agreed a £5million tie-up with Shell – despite his green campaigning.

The TV chef’s £5million deal with the oil giant comes after his business empire lost £20million last year – and despite years of him campaigning for action on climate change.

The arrangement will see him update food at Shell service stations.

Labour’s Anna McMorrin, who is on the Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee, said the move sent out the wrong message given that “he has a lot of support from young people”.

The Cardiff North MP, who visited the Arctic recently to see the ravages of global warming first-hand, said: “ Climate change is the major issue facing all of us.

“We have seen Sir David Attenborough addressing the UN Climate Change conference about the need to be taking this seriously.

“If Jamie Oliver is there promoting something that exploits fossil fuel, then that’s not taking it seriously.”

Jamie, 43, has also angered staff at his HQ by teaming up with Shell, which boosted profits to £4.3billion last year and is in the top 10 global carbon emitters.

A report last year said Shell has been responsible for 1.67% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide since 1988.

An insider at Jamie’s firm said: “Jamie went into it with the best intentions – to improve the food in service stations.

“But some people are unhappy about working with a business like Shell and have made their displeasure clear.”

Three years ago, Jamie teamed up with the United Nations Environment Programme and was hailed as an “environmental champion” on its website.

He tweeted at the time: “Guys, if we don’t act on #ClimateChange, none of the #GlobalGoals can happen. This is everyone’s problem.”

While making Channel 4 series Jamie’s American Road Trip in 2009, he ensured the whole process was carbon neutral – billing it as a TV first.

Meetings were held with the Green Party and experts worked out 242.6 tonnes of CO2 was generated from all of the flights, hotel accommodation and land travel as his crew crossed six states.

Jamie offset this by investing in environmental schemes – including a wind farm in China and a solar plant in India.

He said at the time: “My company is serious about helping to prevent climate change and we recognise that with everything we do – but especially with TV programmes like this one – we create a carbon footprint.

“I felt, it was my duty to stand up and say if we’re going to shoot these programmes which involve flying people everywhere, we should make a difference and help save the planet.”

The decision to go into business with Shell comes after Jamie told of a cash crisis at his company.

He revealed earlier this year that restaurant chain Jamie’s Italian was hours from bankruptcy before he rescued it by injecting nearly £13million of his own cash.

He has since shut 12 of its 37 restaurants and made 600 staff redundant.

Jamie said: “We had simply run out of cash and we hadn’t expected it.”

Last year, global emissions of CO2 from industry rose 1.2% – meaning we are on track for a temperature rise of 3.2C by the end of this century.

Both Shell and Jamie declined to comment on the tie-up.


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