London’s 2012 “most environmentally friendly ever” Olympics are sponsored by BP, Dow and Rio Tinto, but campaigning groups have been ignored by the Organising Committee LOCOG. Now you can ask your MP to support the Greenwash Gold early day motion.
Olympic Greenwash Gold protesters took their message to LOCOG offices on Monday 18 June.
London Mining Network, UK Tar Sands Network and Bhopal Medical Appeal, the campaign groups behind the Greenwash Gold 2012 campaign, resorted to this protest following LOCOG’s constant refusal to discuss the controversies surrounding sponsorship agreements with BP, Dow Chemical and Rio Tinto.
Emily Coats from the UK Tar Sands Network said:
“We’ve been trying since February to arrange a meeting with LOCOG to discuss the inappropriateness of fossil-fuel giant BP being Sustainability Partner. LOCOG’s refusal to meet us confirms that they are more concerned about greenwashing their corporate clients than about real green issues.”
Colin Toogood from Bhopal Medical Appeal said:
“LOCOG and Lord Coe have been ignoring the Bhopal Medical Appeal’s request for a meeting since last August when the The Dow Chemical Company’s sponsorship of the stadium wrap was announced.”
Richard Solly of the London Mining Network said:
“LOCOG isn’t just ignoring us, it’s also ignoring those communities from all over the world that have had their lives devastated by the operations of Rio Tinto, Dow and BP. It’s disgraceful that the London Olympics are being used to ‘greenwash’ the reputations of some of the most controversial companies in existence.”
Meredith Alexander, the ex Olympics ‘ethics tsar’ who resigned over controversies surrounding Olympic sponsorship said:
"The London Olympics belongs to all of us; athletes, spectators and Londoners alike. That's why is is so disappointing that Lord Coe is ignoring people's concerns about unethical Olympic sponsors. He does not want to hear about BP's investment in the most polluting form of oil, the environmental problems that come with Rio Tinto's medals or the fact that Dow Chemical is the company now responsible for the Bhopal tragedy.
"Lord Coe's refusal to listen to the public is frustrating, but not particularly surprising. He would not listen to me when I was part of an official watchdog body. He has proved time and again that he certainly doesn't care what the victims of the Olympic sponsors think. I'm left wondering who he is listening to."
LOCOG and Bhopal Medical Appeal
The Bhopal Medical Appeal has sent a series of registered letters to Lord Coe and LOCOG requesting a meeting and setting out matters that require discussion. The first letter was dated 23 August 2011 and simply requested a friendly and informal meeting. This set the tone by remaining unanswered.
At the final pre-Olympic press conference between LOCOG and the IOC, on 30 March, Lord Coe stated that he was now ready to meet the Bhopal campaign groups. Neither Lord Coe, nor LOCOG, has made any attempt to contact the Bhopal Medical Appeal since then despite a registered letter, sent by the Bhopal Medical Appeal, on 2 April, specifically requesting that meeting.
LOCOG and UK Tar Sands Network and London Mining Network
LOCOG was sent an open letter in February, signed by 34 signatories including campaigners, activists, academics, politicians, artists and indigenous leaders, outlining concerns with BP being Sustainability Partner, and requesting a meeting to discuss the issues further. Despite follow up from the campaign groups, nothing more has been heard from LOCOG.
BP is one of the most unsustainable companies on the planet. It is entirely focused on extracting every last fossil fuel it can get its hands on, including tar sands, the most destructive industrial project on the planet. If the Canadian tar sands are fully exploited as planned, they will contribute more than 10% of all the carbon emissions that humanity can afford to emit, ever, if we are to prevent runaway climate change. Extracting oil from tar sands also destroys swathes of boreal forest, uses huge amounts of fresh water, and causes soaring rates of illness in local communities.
The metal for the 2012 Olympics medals is being provided by Rio Tinto, a massive British mining company. Metal for the medals will come from the company’s Kennecott Bingham Canyon mine in Utah, USA, and its Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia.
Groups in Utah are protesting about air pollution from Rio Tinto’s Bingham Canyon operations, which contributes to hundreds of premature deaths each year in the Salt Lake City area. Planned expansion would make the situation worse. The Oyu Tolgoi mine will use enormous quantities of water in a desert region, and campaigners there accuse the company of poor planning and failure to share information with the public.
The Bhopal Gas Disaster began on the night of the 2nd/3rd December 1984 when a Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, released 27 tonnes of lethal gases, killing around 25,000 people and maiming over half a million others. The Dow Chemical Company merged with Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), in 2001, but claims that it has no responsibility for the ongoing consequences of UCC’s business in Bhopal.
However In 1987, UCC was indicted on criminal charges of 'Culpable Homicide' and other serious offences related to the 1984 disaster, Dow knew full well it was merging with a 'proclaimed absconder'. Dow was summonsed, by Indian court in 2005 and asked why it had not produced UCC for trial but the summons remains unanswered and UCC remains a fugitive from justice. Dow maintains that UCC remains a separate business to Dow. But Dow owns 100% of UCC´s shares, elects its board and UCC´s current CEO is even a senior Dow official. Dow applies double-standards in different places. It has accepted liability for asbestos related claims against UCC in the U.S., yet refuses to accept any liability for UCC's past business in Bhopal.