London 2012 Olympics, Dow Chemical Company and the Bhopal disaster
Dear Lord Coe,
We the undersigned call on the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games to review its decision in August 2011 to award the Olympic wrap tender to Dow Chemical Company in light of its appalling human rights record in regard to the victims of the 1984 Bhopal disaster.
The Union Carbide Corporation was responsible for the deadly gas leak which killed up to 25,000 people. In 2001 Dow Chemical Company bought Union Carbide, wholly owns the company and elects every single director to its board, yet they deny any liability for the original disaster. Union Carbide is resisting ‘polluter pays’ litigation arising from the tragedy by failing to appear to serious criminal charges in India, prompting the Indian Court to declare the company ‘a fugitive from justice’ by the court.
Dow also refuses to acknowledge that it has a legal and moral responsibility for the ongoing contamination resulting from Union Carbide’s factory in Bhopal which has led to high quantities of organochlorines and lead in local water supplies. In water contaminated areas, children are born damaged at a rate many times higher than in the rest of India, in some places ten times higher.
How ironic it is that so much money has been spent on decontaminating the Olympic site, while so many people suffer from contaminated water as a direct responsibility of Dow. When Dow accepted the award of the Olympic Wrap commission, Keith Wiggins, Dow UK’s Managing Director bragged about Dow’s “strong commitment to sustainability”. This makes a mockery of the word, and is a stain on the ambitions of the Olympics. In no sense does Dow meet the high ‘environmental, social and ethical’ standards demanded by LOCOG’s own Sustainable Sourcing Code and we urge you to think again to protect the Olympic legacy for Britain.