People power has done it! Sponsorship by oil and gas polluter BP of Paralympics coverage has been dropped.

Have you been enjoying watching our New Zealand athletes competing at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo? Imagine watching the coverage and having the brand of a big polluter like BP interrupting our enjoyment at every ad break.

This was almost the case in the UK until Channel4 quietly dropped BP as a sponsor of their coverage following a public backlash. The axing came after Olympians and Paralympians began to take a public stand against climate change following extreme temperatures of over 34C at this year’s games which left some athletes with heat stroke and exhaustion.

The initial announcement that BP would sponsor primetime coverage was met with immense backlash from environmental campaigners, including Greenpeace.

The news of the termination is a win against oil polluters in sport, and a sign that sport is starting to move away from its partnerships with high-carbon brands and refusing to endorse companies that are fuelling the climate emergency.

One petition launched by climate campaigner to pressure Channel 4 into dropping the fossil fuel company accumulated thousands of signatures.

This is certainly great news for the environment, so now is our chance to go further and put more pressure on stamping out oil and plastic companies from New Zealand sport.

New Zealand Rugby recently signed a 6-year sponsorship deal with oil and plastic polluting petrochemical giant INEOS to which almost 18,000 people have signed a Greenpeace Aotearoa petition calling for them to drop the deal.

INEOS is responsible for driving the world deeper into the climate crisis, and fouling the oceans with plastic pollution.

There were also discussions between NZ Rugby and Amazon, that the NZ Herald reported were eager to reach a meaningful alliance. It progressed to an advanced stage and Amazon were considering making a $20m a year investment to put the name Climate Pledge on the All Blacks jersey.

Climate Pledge is a pact that was announced by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2019 and is aimed at making signatories – major corporations such as Unilever, Microsoft and Mercedes-Benz are on board – accountable to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement 10 years early.

It is also understood that concerns about putting the Climate Pledge name so close to INEOS halted those negotiations. 

It’s a sign of the times that oil and plastic polluters are becoming increasingly unpopular and sports events and franchises are disassociating themselves. People are standing up for the climate and the environment and we know we have the power to make positive change against oil, gas and plastic polluters. When we stand together, we win!

PETITION: Say no to oil on the All Blacks

Sign on now to stop NZ Rugby from making a sponsorship deal with the devil and smearing the silver fern in oil.

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