Dow Chemical was on Sunday reported to have agreed to remove all its branding from the London Olympic stadium following protests from campaigners here and in India over its links to 1984 Union Carbide Bhopal gas tragedy.
Under a £7 million deal, Dow was to sponsor a fabric wrap that would surround the Olympic stadium in East London.
A report in The Sunday Express quoted the company as saying that it was agreeing to the “vision” of the 2012 Games by "waiving its sponsorship rights to place its brand on a controversial fabric wrap for the stadium".
It also said that an unnamed artist working on the wrap had insisted on ``artistic integrity’’ and this meant that Dow’s logo would not be used.
Dow spokesman Scott Wheeler said: “The agreement ¬between Dow and ¬Locog (the London Olympics organising committee) 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. In mid-summer, Locog and Dow discussed Dow deferring the rights to these five panels to allow free and full execution of the design as determined by Locog. Dow agreed to this to ¬support Locog’s and London 2012’s vision for the stadium wrap.”
But it was immediately embroiled in another row after the Express claimed that it had information that Dow had been in talks with the Olympic Park Legacy Company about ``partnership deals’’ in Olympic Park after the Games. The Park will be renamed Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to mark her Diamond Jubilee celebration.
Welcoming the move to drop the logo, Barry Gardiner, MP Chair of Labour Friends of India, who led a campaign against the sponsorship, said: “This decision at last indicates Dow is showing some shame and that can only be positive. But we also hope any ¬attempt by it to have a long-term ¬involvement in the Queen ¬Elizabeth Olympic Park are abandoned.”
Distinguished academic Noam Chomsky was among a group of high-profile international figures, including British MPs and former Olympians, who wrote to Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog), urging him to drop Dow Chemical Company as a sponsor of the London Games because of its link to the gas tragedy.