NOcado: All-out Ocado boycott in Islington could cost firm £60million annually, campaigners claim

A generic stock photo of an Ocado home delivery van. Picture: Kate Collins/ PA

A generic stock photo of an Ocado home delivery van. Picture: Kate Collins/ PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

An all-out boycott on Ocado in Islington could cost the online delivery giant more than £60million a year, campaigners say.

The NOcado campaign was formed to oppose the company's planning application to open a delivery depot with three diesel pumps next door to Yerbury Primary School in Foxham Road, which is also only a short distance from Leaping Lizard Nursery in Whittington Park.

Ocado has some 13,000 weekly shoppers in Islington and its latest financial results show the average order (across its whole UK customer base) is £104.90.

If this average shop was repeated over a 45 week period, which NOcado hypothesises to be the likely annual order regularity of a customer's orders, then it would be a spend of £4,720. Campaigners are therefore calling on all 13,000 Islington shoppers to stop buying with Ocado until it withdraws its planning application, which could cost upwards of £61.3million based on the sums mentioned above.

Ocado didn't respond directly to this figure, but it was pointed out that the business' revenue for 2019 was £1.6bn, up 10.3 per cent for the year. Green Party activist and NOcado co-founder Natasha Cox said: "What our campaign is exposing is that there is a clash between Ocado's sustainability commitments and the reality of the way they do business. Many Ocado customers would not choose them if they realised that beneath this greenwash, there is a harsher truth: they will put a polluting hub next to a large primary school regardless of the impact on children's health and well-being. To make more money they are willing to harm communities and undermine the viability of local high streets with their new Zoom service."

Andrew Grieve, senior air quality analyst, King's College London, said: "The evidence linking air pollution and children's health is overwhelming. Childhood is a particularly vulnerable time and evidence shows harm to heart, lungs, immune system and even development of the brain and intelligence which last into adulthood. Given what we know, locating a busy depot with hundreds of vehicle movements metres from a primary school presents a serious threat to the health of these young children now and into the future."

A family in the area said they've switched from Ocado to Waitrose over this application, adding: "We are horrified by Ocado's attempts to hide this huge development by not putting in a full planning application hiding behind weaker planning rules for industrial estates and failing to provide clear environmental and social impact assessments.

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"The damage to the local environment and retailers in North London could be devastating, while the profits of this new hub, will be relocated back to their distant HQ. I used to spend £150 a week on my family shop, £7,200 a year, so at least I know with my boycott that I am hitting Ocado where it hurts."

An Ocado spokesperson said: "We have made a number of commitments to Islington Council to minimise emissions at the site. As part of this, we are working on plans to significantly increase the power supply to the site to allow us to use an all-electric fleet of delivery vans."

They added: "We have followed the correct planning process throughout the application."

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