Greenwash Gold protest takes our message direct to LOCOG’s Head Offices (guest blog)

Originally published on Monday, 18 June 2012. Written by Bhopal Medical Appeal

This morning, protesters from the London Mining Network, UK Tar Sands Network and the Bhopal Medical Appeal, the campaign groups behind the Greenwash Gold 2012 campaign, protested outside LOCOG headquarters.

After LOCOG’s constant refusal to meet any of the groups involved in the Greenwash Gold campaign about the London Olympics’ controversial corporate sponsors, we thought we should take our message right to their front door. We took giant dummy megaphones to project our message to the LOCOG offices.

We asked LOCOG to send down a representative to meet us, but once again LOCOG refused to engage. This is in spite of the fact that, following Drop Dow Now’s demonstration in March, Lord Coe himself said that he would be happy to meet those demonstrating to discuss the serious issue of toxic corporate sponsorship.

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 the 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. The truth is that Lord Coe knows that Dow are shielding Union Carbide from criminal charges, relating to the Bhopal disaster, and there is simply no way they can have a public conversation about this matter and maintain a position in support of the Dow Chemical sponsorship deal.” (see notes).

The Greenwash Gold campaign has produced animations targeting the controversial environmental and human rights records of three Olympic sponsors, Dow, BP and Rio Tinto, and is encouraging viewers to vote for the ‘worst’ company that will be awarded the Greenwash Gold medal at the start of the games.

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 it is so disappointing that Lord Coe is ignoring people’s concerns about unethical 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.

Amnesty International said: “On day one of the (recent Amnesty supporters) campaign, just a few hours after he received the first messages, Lord Coe’s reaction was apparently to block all emails sent via our website, and disengage from any conversation about Dow’s involvement in the Olympics. This does not reassure us that the Olympic Committee is committed to ethical, responsible investment.

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