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New Report: Major Pollutants Green Whitewash to Sponsor Sports Clubs

A new report reveals more than 250 deals between high carbon industries and leading sports teams.

Industries that pollute the environment are doing “sports-wash” by spending hundreds of millions of pounds on sports teams to ignore their role in the climate crisis, according to a new report released Monday.

The study examines more than 250 advertising and sponsorship deals between some of the biggest corporate polluters and leading sports teams and organizations.

“The sports industry is at the forefront of the climate emergency but floats in the sea of ​​sponsorship deals with major pollutants,” said Andrew Simms, co-director of the New Weather Institute and co-author of the report. “It is exacerbating the crisis by normalizing high carbon emissions, polluting lifestyles and reducing pressure on climate action.”

The report, prepared by the New Weather Institute, climate aid organization Possible and Rapid Transition Alliance, identified advertising and sponsorship agreements with major pollutants in 13 different sports, including football, cricket and tennis. It turned out that football, which received 57 different sponsorships from high carbon industries, from oil and natural gas companies to airlines, had the most deals.

Simms “We know that when pollutants present themselves as environmentally responsible, they do green whitewash. “Sports whitewash”, on the other hand, appears to be a friend of polluting industries, sports and healthy activities, helping them release deadly pollution into the air that athletes have to breathe and destroy the climate that sports is dependent on, “he said.

Simms said tobacco companies were replaced by “major pollutants” as sports sponsors and added, “Just as tobacco sponsorship ended, these sponsorships should be stopped for the same reason: for the health of people, sports and the planet.”

The work follows a high-profile campaign against sponsorship deals that British arts institutions have made with the oil and gas giants. Many have now cut ties with fossil fuel companies.

Simms said, “Sport has been vital in raising awareness on vital issues from child poverty to racism and in rapidly changing opinions and policies. “It can now be changed to do the same for climate change,” he said.

The report suggests that the auto industry is the most active high-carbon sponsor with 199 different deals across all sports. Airlines ranked second with 63, followed by oil and gas companies such as Gazprom and Ineos, which were previously criticized for their climate campaigns.

As Ineos prepares to take over the sponsorship of Team Sky Cycling in 2019, a spokesperson for the chemical company said it was determined to move towards a circular economy.

The report states that automaker Toyota is the largest sponsor with 31 deals; With 29 partnerships, it reveals that the airline company Emirates is in the second place.

Toyota spokesperson stated that he could not make a detailed comment without seeing the full report, adding that the company has been “the world leader in low-emission electric vehicles for 25 years” and “among the major emission producers with the lowest carbon dioxide fleet averages.”

Emirates, on the other hand, did not respond to requests for comment.

Campaigners argue that the findings in the report undermine the commitments of many clubs and sports organizations to take action on the climate crisis.

Melissa Wilson, a member of the GB rowing team at the Tokyo Olympics, is one of the athletes supporting the campaign. “As athletes, we focus a lot on keeping sports ‘clean’ by prioritizing the fight against doping. Continuing to pollute the world in the face of a climate emergency is equivalent to doping or scoring a goal for your own team. Sport misses an opportunity to play a productive role in the zero carbon race by keeping polluting sponsors on the same boat. “It is time for sports and athletes to change that.”

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