‘We’re in extra time for climate breakdown’ – Badvertising report slams Olympics sportswashing

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Sponsorship deals between the 2024 Paris Olympics and Paralympics Games and Air France Toyota and steel giant AccelorMittal will generate the same amount of emissions as eight coal plants, according to new research from activists at Badvertising.

The group’s ‘Olympic Smokes Rings’ report details that deals with the four giants amount to 33.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

The group, which is calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to cut ties with major polluters, created the report by combining the total emissions from airlines, sponsorship spend and revenue of the sponsorship companies.

In addition, it criticised the environmental track records of the companies, for example noting that Toyota’s production plans will see the company overshoot Paris-aligned emission targets by as much as 184%.

It comes after Adfree Cities campaigners complained about Toyota’s ‘Born To Roam’ adverts, culminating in a landmark ruling which saw the spot become the first car ad banned for using nature on environmental grounds.

Speaking to Marketing Beat about sportswashing in the wider industry Badvertising’s Andrew Simms said that “whether you’re watching Wimbledon, the Euros, Tour de France or upcoming Olympics, everywhere you look sport is floating on oil slick or sponsorship by major polluters promoting high carbon lifestyles and products”.


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Simms also described the Olympic Games as showing an image of “health and vitality”, but said it has also helped “promote some of the world’s biggest polluters”.

“The 2024 Paris Games promised better but its famous logo now looks like Olympic smoke rings in the sky, because the Games has failed to break with the polluting past,” he added.

Olympic canoe gold medallist Etienne Stott, who is known for his climate activism, said the Olympics “must ditch these major polluters and adapt to the realities of a warmer world” if it wants to maintain its legacy.

Simms added: “We’re in extra time for climate breakdown, and by accepting polluter-sponsors, sports governing bodies are further fuelling global heating when they should be showing them the red card for disqualification.”

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