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Friday, October 12, 2012

Strategic CSR - Olympics

Written in the run-up to London’s recent Olympics, the article in the url below awards gold, silver, and bronze medals to those corporate sponsors who are accused of most “greenwashing the Olympics” (

Rio Tinto, the global mining company, has been named as early front-runner for the Greenwash Gold award for the worst Olympic sponsor, with BP, the oil and gas multinational, in second place and Dow Chemical third.

The activists have a pretty good case that the organizers are compromising the Olympic values and ideals by taking so much money from these firms:
  • Rio Tinto is providing the metals to be used in the Olympic medals from its mines in Utah, even though local residents have complained about the pollution these mines produce.
  • BP has been named a “Sustainability Partner” to the Games, in spite of its questionable environmental track record.
  • Dow Chemical is still being hounded to acknowledge formally full responsibility for Union Carbide’s role in causing the Bhopal tragedy (Dow merged with Union Carbide in 1999).

What I found surprising was the lengths the local organizers went to in order to accommodate their sponsors:

Olympic sponsors will avoid paying up to $942 million in tax as venues will be treated like offshore havens during the Games … . A report by Ethical Consumer claimed that under new tax rules ushered in as part of “Team Great Britain’s” winning Olympic bid, corporate partners like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Visa were given a temporary exemption from corporation tax as “non-resident” companies from March 30 to November 8. The new rules also reportedly mean foreign employees working for the companies do not have to pay income tax in the UK.

Have a good weekend.

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Greenwashing the Olympics
By Daniel Nelson
July 4, 2012
CorpWatch Blog