London Assembly calls on IOC to review Dow Chemicals Olympics deal
The London Assembly today called on the Olympics organisers to rethink their partner-relationship with Dow Chemicals—the company involved in producing the Agent Orange dioxin used during the Vietnam War.
Assembly members voted to urge Lord Coe’s 2012 committee and the IOC to “consider the environmental, social, ethical and human rights records of companies when awarding high-profile partnership deals.”
Dow and 35 other companies manufactured Agent Orange for the US government which was dropped on Vietnam rain forests in the 1960s which campaigners say got in the food chain and caused genetic birth deformities for generations.
The company, which sponsored the plastic ‘wrap around’ of the Olympic Stadium in east London, also bought Union Carbide, owners of the Bhopal pesticide plant which blew up in the 1984 disaster in India. The official death toll of Bhopal was 2,259, but thousands more died subsequently from poisoning.
“The Bhopal factory site still hasn’t been cleared up almost 30 years after the horrific chemical disaster,” Navin Shah told the Assembly. “The survivors and their families continue to fight for compensation.
“It is time for the 2012 organisers and the IOC to take their ethical and sustainability code seriously and exclude Dow Chemical from future sponsorship deals.”
He put forward a resolution urging organisers to review their partnership with Dow Chemicals.
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“We owe it to the victims and their families to demand action and changes to keep out the likes of Dow Chemical from future Games,” he added.
The Assembly urged the IOC to tighten regulations around Olympic sponsorship.
Assembly member Darren Johnson said: “Enthusiasm for the London Games is in danger of being tarnished by association with companies like Dow Chemical.
“Dow bought Union Carbine with its assets and also took on the responsibility—it’s time they lived up to it.”
Campaigners in east London also have a score to settle over its involvement in Agent Orange.
Veteran campaigner Len Aldis, who has been fighting to bar Dow’s Olympics sponsorship, told the Advertiser tonight: “I hope the Assembly’s vote moves the IOC to consider the anger Dow’s sponsorship has aroused. It’s too late for the London Olympics opening in two weeks—but Dow has a deal with the IOC until 2020 which should now be reconsidered.”
Campaigners believe the Agent Orange toxin dropped on Vietnam between 1961 and 71 has affected nearly five million Vietnamese—even those born years later.
Full text of motion agreed by 16 votes to seven at today’s London Assembly, July 11, 2012:
“This Assembly believes the decision to select Dow as a Worldwide Partner has caused damage to the reputation of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This Assembly feels the IOC and national organising committees should consider the environmental, social, ethical and human rights records of companies when awarding high-profile partnership and sponsorship deals.
“The Assembly calls on the London organising committee to recommend the IOC introduces criteria for the selecting Worldwide partners and high-profile sponsors for future Games that address the principles defined in their Olympic Charter and that the IOC review their current partnership with Dow in light of those criteria.”