London Olympics cannot act as a 'global policeman'
Michael McCarthy, formerly the Independent’s longstanding Environment Editor, now its Environment Columnist, is one of Britain’s leading writers on the environment and the natural world. He has won a string of awards for his work, including Environment Journalist of the Year (three times) and Specialist Writer of the Year in the British Press Awards in 2001. In 2007 he was awarded the Medal of the RSPB for “Outstanding Services to Conservation,” in 2010 he was awarded the Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London, and in 2011 the Dilys Breeze Medal of the British Trust for Ornithology. In 2009 McCarthy published Say Goodbye To The Cuckoo (John Murray), a study of Britain’s declining migrant birds.
Friday 27 July 2012
The London Olympics cannot act as a “global policeman” checking on everything done by all the major companies who are its partners and sponsors, according to a senior official of LOCOG, the games organising committee.
David Stubbs, the Olympics Head of Sustainability – the man responsible for delivering an environmentally-friendly London 2012 – made the comment when asked about criticism of some of the choices of Olympics partner and sponsor firms, ranging from Dow Chemical to oil giant BP and the French electricity company EDF.
In 2001 Dow became the 100 per cent shareholder of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), whose Indian subsidiary was responsible for the world’s worst ever industrial disaster in Bhopal, India, in 1984, in which several thousand people were killed by escaping cyanide gas.
BP was widely criticised for its handling of the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill two years ago, while EDF, the French state energy firm, was fined 1.5m Euros by a French court last year, and had two of its employees sent to jail, for spying on the environment group Greenpeace.
The choice of these and other companies as partners has brought about strong criticism.
But Mr Stubbs, who has spent the last nine years trying to organise a sustainable Olympics, rebuts the critics, “All the partners are on board working with us, to our criteria, on what we’re looking for in terms of materials and services and supporting our sustainability agenda, and that is the perspective, the framework, in which we can work,” he said.
“We can’t suddenly become a global policeman and run around the world looking at everything every company does.
“If you took out EDF you’d have another energy company, or if you took out BP you’d have another oil company – they’re all similar in that respect.”
He added: “You’ve got to work with them. It’s no good just saying, ‘oh they’re bad, therefore ignore them’, because that is futile. It’s just gesture politics, and doesn’t really help anyone.”
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