Olympic sponsors slammed in new campaign to vote for “Greenwash Gold” Rio Tinto, Dow Chemicals and BP targeted by coalition of environmental and human rights organisations
Greenwash Gold 2012 launch event taking place 16/04/12 at Amnesty Human Rights Centre from 7pm.
On Monday 16th of April, a coalition of environmental and human rights groups are unveiling a new website and campaign focussing on the ‘worst’ Olympic sponsors. Greenwash Gold 2012. Three controversial Olympic sponsors, The Dow Chemical Company, BP and Rio Tinto have been made into the subject of short films made by award-winning animators that encourage the viewers to vote online for the worst corporate sponsor of the Olympics. The organisers will then be awarding the Greenwash Gold Medal during the games in July based on the results of the public voting.
Members of communities impacted by the Olympic sponsors from all over the world have come together for the launch event on the 16thto criticise the companies, including:
- A representative from the Gulf Coast where communities are still dealing with the environmental devastation of BP’s catastrophic oil spill.
- An organiser with indigenous communities in Canada fighting BP’s controversial tar sands operations.
- A mother from Utah fighting against the life-threatening air pollution levels caused by one of the mines from which Rio Tinto is providing the metal for the Olympic metals.
- A community representative from Mongolia where another Rio Tinto mine proving medals metal is accused of exploiting scarce water resources in a desert region.
- A survivor of the Bhopal disaster who witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by Union Carbide’s horrific chemical explosion.
The launch on the 16th is being chaired by Meredith Alexander, the ex Olympics ‘ethics tsar’ who resigned over controversies surrounding Olympic sponsorship.
Meredith Alexander, said: “The Olympics are meant to be about so much more than how fast Usain Bolt can run or how many medals Britain's finest athletes score. The modern Olympics was founded here in the UK to promote peace and understanding between the peoples of the world. The Olympic values are all about celebrating our common humanity.
But the Olympics is also big business. There is an expensive machine behind the Games that is funded by corporate sponsors. Sadly when these sponsors are selected, money talks much more loudly than values. As an ex-member of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, I know first hand just how little scrutiny is allowed when sponsors are chosen. Greenwash Gold 2012 is a chance to turn this around by letting the public vote for the least ethical sponsor.”
Jess Worth, from the UK Tar Sands Network, said, “BP has bought itself the prestigious title of London 2012 'Sustainability Partner'. But this is dangerous greenwash. BP is one of the least sustainable companies on earth, responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the extraction of highly-polluting tar sands. Its entire business is geared towards keeping the world addicted to fossil fuels and driving us towards uncontrollable climate change. And the Olympics are helping BP get away with it!"
Colin Toogood, from the Bhopal Medical Appeal said: "The Dow Chemical Company are the owners of the Union Carbide Corporation wanted, in India, on the criminal charge of culpable homicide. The Bhopal disaster site has never been cleaned up and highly toxic chemicals are now found in the drinking water of over 30,000 poor people. If we can clean up the London Olympic site in readiness for the games, why can’t Dow take responsibility for cleaning up Bhopal.”
Cherise Udell, the founder of Utah Moms for Clean Air, said, "I was delighted to learn that the 2012 Olympic committee was aiming for the greenest Olympics ever. Then I heard that Rio Tinto metal from our controversial Utah mine would be used to make the medals. In Utah, Rio Tinto are the number one emitter of toxins known to cause harm to human health. Every year, between 1000 and 2000 Utahns die prematurely due to chronic air pollution and Rio Tinto's Bingham mine is responsible for about 30% of this.”
Biog notes of the speakers at the event are listed in the notes below.
For more information/comment, contact
Richard Solly, London Mining Network
Colin Toogood, Bhopal Medical Appeal,
Jess Worth, UK Tar Sands Network
*** ENDS *** Notes
Cherise Udell, the founder of Utah Moms for Clean Air, is a mother of two, and a resident of Salt Lake City. Cherise has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from U.C. Berkeley and is nearly finished with her M.S. in Environmental Health and Social Ecology at Yale University.
Zanaa Jurmed is the Director of the Center for Citizens’ Alliance in Mongolia and a leading figure in Mongolian civil society. She is, among other things, a Board member of the Mongolian NGOs’ Coalition on the International Criminal Court, a Board member of the World Movement for Democracy in Asia, an Advisor to the Global Fund for Women, San Francisco, USA, Chair of the Complaint and Review Committee of Mongolian Public TV and Radio, Chair of the Standing Committee on Democracy, Politics and Civil Society of the Mongolian Women’s NGO Network MONFEMNET, and a member of the Council on Policy on Human Rights and Citizens’ Participation under the President’s Office.
Derrick Evans is a sixth-generation native of Turkey Creek, a Mississippi Gulf Coast community settled by freed slaves in 1866. Derrick founded Turkey Creek Community Initiatives to promote sustainable local development that is both environmentally and culturally sensitive. Since Hurricane Katrina and the devastating BP Deepwater Horizon spill he has been a tireless organizer and advocate for the needs and rights of coastal communities, and is an advisor to the Gulf Coast Fund.
Clayton Thomas-Muller, of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation also known as Pukatawagan in Northern Manitoba, Canada, is an activist for Indigenous rights and environmental justice. Clayton is the tar sands campaign organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network and works with grassroots indigenous communities to defend against the sprawling infrastructure that includes pipelines, refineries and extraction associated with the tar sands, the largest and most destructive industrial development in the history of mankind.
Farah Edwards-Khan was born and raised in Bhopal and was ten years old at the time of the disaster. Farah was lucky enough to be in a part of the city that was not too badly hit by the gas, during the night of the main disaster, but witnessed the unfolding tragedy first-hand the following morning as bodies lined the streets of Bhopal.
Colin Toogood has worked for the BMA for three and a half years after a change of life decision for this erstwhile DJ. Colin decided he needed something more worthwhile to do with his time and feels very lucky to have found such a worthwhile cause to be working for.