Olympic organisers slammed over BP sponsorship

Environmental credentials of ‘sustainability’ partner labelled a ‘sick joke’

PRESS RELEASE: 17.2.2012

Today, an open letter [1] signed by a broad coalition of leading environmentalists, academics, politicians, campaigners, activists and representatives of devastated communities [2] has been sent to the organisers of London 2012, raising a series of concerns over BP’s sponsorship of the forthcoming Olympics.

The 34 signatories – which include representatives of Sierra Club US, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, as well as London Assembly member Jenny Jones and Nick Reeves OBE, Director of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management – have raised critical concerns over BP’s role as ‘Sustainability Partner’ [3]. The letter points out that given the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the company’s vast fossil fuel extraction activities around the globe, its recent entry into the highly-polluting tar sands and subsequent decision to close down its solar division, BP ‘is one of the least sustainable companies on earth’ and should not have been given such a prestigious environmental leadership role.

The letter comes in the wake of Meredith Alexander’s resignation from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 – the Olympics’ eco-watchdog – over Dow’s sponsorship [4]. Addressed to the IOC, LOCOG and the Commission, it asks that the three organisations ‘reconsider the terms of the partnership with BP, and put in place a more stringent ethical sponsorship policy that is in line with Olympic principles and the Code of Ethics, that will prevent BP and similar companies basking in such undeserved glory in the future.’ It will be accompanied by a request for a meeting.

Jess Worth from the UK Tar Sands Network, which organised the initiative, said:

The choice of BP as Sustainability Partner for the London 2012 Olympics sounds like a sick joke, considering its record of environmental devastation around the world. There’s clearly an urgent need for the Olympics organisers to broaden their definition of ‘sustainability’ and start applying it to their choice of sponsor.

The controversy surrounding BP’s Olympic sponsorship follows growing criticism from environmental and human rights groups over the company’s sponsorship of UK-based cultural institutions like Tate and the British Museum. At the end of 2011, more than 8,000 Tate members and visitors presented a petition to Tate at its Members’ AGM calling on the gallery to end its financial relationship with BP. [5]

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Jess Worth, UK Tar Sands Network, [email protected]
Kevin Smith, Platform, [email protected]

1. The letter can be found at
2. The full list of signatories is: Tom Antebi, Counter Olympics Network; Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians; Liam Barrington-Bush, People & Planet; Craig Bennett, Director of Policy & Campaigns, Friends of the Earth; Carbon Trade Watch; Sam Chase, Art Not Oil; Julian Cheyne, Games Monitor; Danny Chivers, author of The No-Nonsense Guide to Climate Change; Tony Clarke, Director, Polaris Institute; Mark Gee, criminology consultant and writer; Tom B. K. Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network; Hannah Griffiths, Head of Policy and Campaigns, World Development Movement; Siobhan Grimes, Climate Rush; Jenny Jones, London Assembly Member; Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Greenpeace Canada; The Liberate Tate collective; Michael Marx, Beyond Oil Director, Sierra Club US; Winnie Overbeek, World Rainforest Movement; Occupy LSX Energy, Equity & Environment Working Group; Robert Palgrave, Biofuelwatch; Nick Reeves OBE, Executive Director, The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM); John Sauven, Director, Greenpeace UK; Dr Debra Benita Shaw, Senior Lecturer, Cultural Studies, University of East London; Andrew Simms, author of Eminent Corporations and Fellow of New Economics Foundation ; Kevin Smith, Platform; Richard Solly, London Mining Network; Jasmine Thomas, member of Saik’uz First Nation (affiliated with the Yinka Dene Alliance); Steve Tombs, Professor of Sociology, John Moores University; Dr Julie Uldam, Postdoctoral Researcher, London School of Economics and Political Science; Stewart Wallis, Director, New Economics Foundation; Diane Wilson, shrimper from the Gulf Coast and member of Calhoun County Resource Watch; Jess Worth, co-founder, UK Tar Sands Network ; Murray Worthy, War on Want; Kenny Young, founder, Artists Project Earth
3. For more information see
4. See ‘Why I resigned over Bhopal’,
5. See ‘Not If But When: Culture Beyond Oil’:

2 Responses to “Olympic organisers slammed over BP sponsorship”

  1. Gary Fraser says:

    Hey folks – look!!! Tar Sands effect on global emissions “negligible” – world renowned IPCC contributor and climate scientist. You need to look in Europe, China, the U.S for the REAL emitters:

    • No Tar Sands says:

      Andrew Weaver has also made the following statement:
      “It would be a huge mistake to interpret our results as some kind of a “get
      out of jail free” card for the tar sands. While coal is the greatest threat
      to the climate globally, the tar sands remain the largest source of
      greenhouse gas emission growth in Canada and are the single largest reason
      Canada is failing to meet it’s international climate commitments and failing
      to be a climate leader. The world needs to transition off of fossil fuels
      that means coal, unconventional gas, and unconventional oil all need to
      See also—Climate-Scientist-/

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