Dow bow to pressure and remove branding from Olympic Stadium wrap

Monday, 19 December 2011
By Tom Degun

London 2012_Olympic_Stadium_with_wrap_August_4_2011December 19 - Dow Chemical has agreed to remove their branding from the £7 million ($11 million/€8 million) wrap around the London 2012 Olympic Stadium in Stratford which they are sponsoring.

Dow, who are one of 11 worldwide Olympic partners, have come under fire from the Indian Government over their sponsorship of the Games due to the fact that Dow bought US chemical firm Union Carbide, whose Bhopal plant in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh leaked toxic gases in 1984, killing thousands of people in the world's worst industrial accident.

Following the Bhopal disaster, Union Carbide settled its liabilities with the Indian Government in 1989 by paying $470 million (£310 million/€351 million) for Bhopal victims and even though Dow bought Union Carbide a decade after the compensation deal, the company have been criticised for the Olympic sponsorship.

They have now agreed to remove the logo from the wrap to calm the situation.

"The agreement between Dow and London 2012 was limited to branding of five 'test panels' that were to be removed in the months before the Games and were not part of the final design," said Dow spokesman Scott Wheeler.

"In mid-summer, London 2012 and Dow discussed Dow deferring the rights to these five panels to allow free and full execution of the design as determined by London 2012.

"Dow agreed to this to support London 2012 and their vision for the stadium wrap."

Dow, who became a worldwide Olympic sponsor in July 2010, has been backed by London 2012, who say they were appointed as a supplier in a fully transparent process.

"Dow have been a worldwide sponsor of the Olympic Movement since 2010 in a deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC)," said a London 2012 spokesperson.

"London 2012 appointed them as a supplier earlier this year following a full procurement process.

"Finally, they won't have their logos on the wrap."

But despite the move from Dow, some campaigners, including the Bhopal Medical Appeal, say the gesture is inadequate and are calling for continued protest.

"This is the first real chink we have seen in Dow Chemical's armour," said a Bhopal Medical Appeal spokesman.

"It's a clear admission that they [Dow Chemical] have started to understand the harm that a company with their appalling track record, including the unresolved situation in Bhopal, will do to the image of the sustainable London Games."

Barry Gardner of the cross-party Parliamentary Friends of India Group has also been raising questions concerning the procurement of the wrap.

"This decision at last indicates Dow is showing some shame and that can only be positive," said Gardner.

The move comes just days after the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) decided to protest Dow's sponsorship of London 2012 and called on the Indian Government to act.

"It is unethical and unacceptable under the Olympic Charter that such a tainted company is associated with the Olympic Games," said the IOA acting President Vijay Kumar Malhotra.

Contact the writer of this story at tom.degun@insidethegames.biz


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