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London Gov’t Urges Olympics to Rethink Dow Chemical Sponsorship

London’s city government has called on the International Olympic Committee to reconsider its sponsorship contract with Dow Chemical, saying the deal has tarnished the games’ reputation.

The London Assembly’s motion stemmed from Dow’s connection to the Bhopal disaster, in which a gas leak at a pesticide factory killed as many as 25,000 people, Reuters reported. The factory was owned by a subsidiary of Union Carbide, a company which Dow bought in 2001. Since then Dow has refused the Indian government’s demands that it increase the $470 million compensation that Union Carbide paid.

The Independent said that Dow’s status as a worldwide Olympic partner is worth $100 million over 10 years. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games also has a local deal with the chemical company, providing a decorative wrap for the main Olympic stadium. The London 2012 games kick off with an opening ceremony at the stadium on July 27.

Assembly member Navin Shah, who proposed the motion, said it was too late to abandon the London sponsorship deal but in the future, the IOC should enact “criteria for partners that conform to [IOC] priorities and keep out the likes of Dow Chemicals.”

The motion passed 16 to seven.

In other Games news, BP says it will offset travel-related carbon emissions for all members of the US Olympic and Paralympic Teams – an estimated 4,500 tons of CO2 from 12 million athlete miles – in addition to offsetting emissions from ticketed US fans traveling to London.

This initiative is part of BP’s program to help offset the more than 400,000 tons of CO2 associated with travel to and from the 2012 Games. Supported by Target Neutral, a BP-developed nonprofit program, the company expects the initiative to offset the most amount of journeys to a single event ever.

BP says the CO2 is being neutralized through six low-carbon development projects across the globe, ranging from collapsible wind turbines in New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific Ocean, to methane capture in Wisconsin.

The carbon released into the atmosphere by London 2012 spectators is estimated to be the second largest source of carbon outputs related to the Games, BP says. The largest, according to the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, is venues.

In addition to the Olympics travel offsets, BP Target Neutral is offsetting all Team USA “Road to London” transport activities to reduce the carbon impact of pre-Games activities.

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