Chemical-free Games


LONDON: The organisers of the 2012 London Olympics said on Monday that Dow Chemical’s name will not appear on a fabric “wrap” around the main stadium, in an issue which sparked threats of an Indian boycott.

India is opposed to the company’s involvement with the Games because of its links to the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster which killed tens of thousands of people in the capital of India’s Madhya Pradesh state.

The London Olympics organisers, LOCOG, said it was never their intention that Dow’s name would be on the wrap during the Games, but Dow had also agreed that its branding will not now appear on five “test” panels either.

A LOCOG spokesman said: “There will definitely not be any Dow Chemical branding on the wrap before, during or after the Olympic Games.

“There was discussion about (having the branding on) the test panels but Dow Chemical have now agreed to adhere to what we call our ‘clean policy’.”

Dow is a major sponsor of both the London Games and the International Olympic Committee.

India’s Olympic chief said on Friday that any decision to boycott the London Games over the involvement of Dow rested with the government.

Vijay Kumar Malhotra, the acting president of the Indian Olympic Association, said his body could only lodge a protest against the use of Dow Chemical as a sponsor with the Olympic organisers, but could not decide on a boycott.

Dow is now the parent company of Union Carbide, whose pesticide plant leaked gas into Bhopal in 1984 in the world’s worst industrial accident.

The company has said all liabilities for the disaster were resolved after Union Carbide settled with the Indian government in 1989 by paying US$470mil to the Bhopal victims.

Dow Chemical spokesman Scot Wheeler said: “The agreement between Dow and LOCOG was limited to branding of five ‘test panels’ that were to be removed in the months before the Games and were not part of the final design.

“However in mid-summer, LOCOG and Dow agreed that Dow would defer the rights to these five panels to allow free and full execution of the design as determined by LOCOG.” — AFP

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