Loyalty giant Nectar has found itself on the wrong side of environmental groups following its decision to sign up Esso to the 20 million-member scheme, amid claims it is a “backwards step to be partnering with some of the world’s biggest polluters”.
The move was first revealed by Decision Marketing in November, and has been triggered by BP – a founding member of Nectar – pulling out of the programme to set up its own loyalty club.
Esso was previously part of Tesco Clubcard. However, in what was seen as a major swipe at Tesco, the company claimed that by joining Nectar it will get more promotional flexibility, better data and reporting, as well as higher engagement with Nectar consumers through targeted digital communications.
Not that environmental campaigners give two hoots about that. They have warned that loyalty cards stimulate consumption of damaging fossil fuels. Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Rachel Kennerley said: “We have a climate emergency on our hands. It’s a completely out-of-touch and backwards step for Nectar to be partnering with some of the world’s biggest polluters.”
Meanwhile Paul Morozzo, a climate campaigner at Greenpeace UK, added: “Promoting fossil fuels is always deeply irresponsible. If someone poured bleach on your cornflakes, would you care whether it’s Cif or Domestos?”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Esso parent company ExxonMobil, which also owns the Mobil brand, has failed to see what all the fuss is about.
Global loyalty programmes manager David Chilton said: “Our customers are our number one priority, so we’re very excited to be launching the Esso Nectar partnership.” The company serves about 800,000 customers every day through a network of 1,100 Esso-branded filling stations.
The row seems to have completely bypassed Nectar, too. Nectar Loyalty managing director James Moir insisted: “We’re always looking for new ways to reward our customers and are thrilled to be offering them the chance to turn their fuel into money off their weekly shop, as well as hundreds of other personalised rewards.”
Late last year, BP confirmed it would be introducing a new digital loyalty platform for its retail business in the UK, that will also offer more engagement with customers on various levels and allow consumers the chance to personalise their benefits with rewards on a broad variety of goods and services across their 1,200 forecourts. The scheme has yet to launch, however, with BP petrol stations displaying signage which claims details of the programme “will follow shortly”.
Meanwhile, Shell is ditching its Drivers’ Club loyalty scheme for a new programme – dubbed Shell Go+ – which will shun a points-based approach to offer member discounts instead.
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