London 2012 Olympics: Dow Chemical sponsorship protests ‘beyond belief’ says CEO

March 1st, 20123:28 pm @


Liveris told Bloomberg that Dow Chemical wasn’t involved in the Bhopal
disaster but his public comments indicate that the company has had to rachet
up its public relations campaign as the controversy continues to rumble on
without any apparent resolution.

“It was not us,” said Liveris. “The fact that you can speak back
with science and fact rather than emotion and hysteria is your only defense.”

The IOC – which receives £60million a year from Dow – as well as the London
Organising Committee, which also receives sponsorship benefits from the
company, have publicly backed Dow’s stance.

The company maintains it has no further liabilities as it bought Union Carbide
16 years after the disaster and a compensation deal, subsequently upheld by
two court cases, had already been settled.

Liveris continuted: “To keep coming back to the notion that you acquire a
company where there is a bright line on the liability that was settled way
beyond your time, and to hook you in to that event, it’s beyond belief that
people are still trying that.

“The obvious reason people are trying that is because we are a healthy
company with deep pockets that people want a second bite of the cherry on.

“I keep saying, ‘Please go to India, please talk to the government of
India and please work it out with them.'”

But the protesters, including those who have been the subject of scrutiny of
Stratfor, believe Dow has ongoing moral, ethical and legal liabilities
relating to the Bhopal disaster through its subsequent ownership of Union

The Indian Sports Ministry has backed the initial stance taken by its Olympic
athletes wanting to stage some protest action and, according to reports in
the Indian press on Wednesday, sent a letter to the IOC, signed by joint
secretary Rahul Bhatnager.

The letter said: “We strongly believe that there is no better medium than
sports to inculcate and foster the feeling of friendship and solidarity
among the people of the world.

“This being so we are dismayed that the IOC has not respected the
sentiments of a large group of stakeholders including Olympians and
withdrawn its association with Dow Chemical.”

Last week a call for UK parliamentary scrutiny of Dow Chemical’s sponsorship
of the Olympic Stadium wrap was passed to Locog with Tourism Minister John
Penrose saying the Government had little influence over the matter.

The sports minister Hugh Robertson said outside of parliament: “The time
for a protest, if any protest needed to be had, was the moment that the IOC
signed up Dow in the first place.”

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