PtG Article 02.11.2011

London Olympic organisers asked to explain ethics of sponsorship deal

Amnesty International has now added its voice to the mounting pressure on the organising committee of the London Olympic Games to explain why it has awarded the Dow Chemicals company a high profile sponsorship deal when one of its subsidiaries, Union Carbide, still has not cleaned up after the environmental disaster in Bhopal, India, in 1984.

The decision for the London Olympic Games to enter into partnership with Dow Chemicals has angered many people in both India and Britain, and now Amnesty International and other NGO's demand that the local organising committee explains exactly how the contract complies with the IOC's own guidelines on sustainable sourcing of materials for the games.

"The Olympic Committee's guidelines on sustainable sourcing are meant to place a high priority on environmental, social and ethical issues when procuring materials for the games. In light of these principles, it is shocking to find out that it has granted such a high profile contract to a firm which has failed to address one of the worst corporate related human rights disasters in the 20th century," writes Ms Seema Joshia, Head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International in an open letter to the local organising committee.

Meanwhile, a member of the British Parliament, Keith Vaz, has tabled a so-called Early Day Motion which asks the British government to call on the organising committee of the London Olympics to re-consider its decision to work with Dow Chemicals.

"Dow Chemicals should instead direct its funds towards cleaning up the ongoing contamination of the Bhopal site for which it is responsible and which will affect the health of Bhopal residents for generations to come," says Keith Vaz.

Source: The Hindu Business Line