London Assembly calls for Dow Olympic sponsorship rethink?

London: The London Assembly today piled up pressure on the International Olympic Committee asking for a rethink on its relationship with the Dow chemical company as the sponsor of the games, in light of the Bhopal gas tragedy.

A motion agreed at a meeting of the full Assembly urged the IOC and national organising committees to consider the environmental, social, ethical and human rights records of companies when awarding high-profile partnership and sponsorship deals.

As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

Dow is a Worldwide Olympic Partner and paid for the plastic wrap around the Olympic Stadium.

Dow Chemical bought the Union Carbide Chemical Company, owners of the Bhopal pesticide plant in India where the 1984 disaster took place.

Over 3,000 people are believed to have died in the December of 1984 in Bhopal due to the immediate after effects of the tragedy.

Assembly member Navin Shah, who proposed the motion, said: "Almost 30 years after the horrific Bhopal chemical disaster, the factory site has still not been cleared up and the survivors and their families continue to fight for compensation."

"It is time for London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG)and the IOC to take their ethical and sustainability code seriously and exclude Dow Chemical from future sponsorship deals," he said.

"It`s not too late to clean up their act. We owe it to the victims and their families to demand actions and implement changes to keep out the likes of Dow Chemical from future Games," he added.

Darren Johnson,who seconded the motion, said: "There is a genuine excitement and enthusiasm about the Games across London, but it is in danger of being tarnished by association with companies like Dow Chemical."

"LOCOG and the IOC must tighten up the regulations around Olympic sponsors to ensure they don`t make the same mistakes again," he said.

"It is ridiculous to argue that a company could be absolved by a takeover deal. When Dow bought Union Carbine, alongside all the assets they also took on the responsibility and it is high time they lived up to it," he added.

The full text of the motion agreed at Wednesday`s meeting reads as follows:? "This Assembly believes that the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) 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," it said.

"The Assembly calls on the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to recommend that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduces criteria for the selection of 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," it added.

The motion was agreed by 16 to 7 votes at a meeting of the full Assembly on Wednesday.

PTI