Olympic commissioner resigns over Dow’s “toxic legacy”

An Olympic commissioner made a stand against at Dow Chemical Company’s sponsorship of the 2012 Games by resigning live on BBC2 TV’s Newsnight last week.

Meredith Alexander had been part of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 (CSL) - the official sustainability and ethics advisers to Lord Coe and LOCOG.

Dow’s sponsorship of the fabric wrap around the Olympic stadium has sparked controversy despite the fact that Dow’s name will not appear on it during the Games.

In one of the world’s worst industrial disasters, up to 15,000 people died and tens of thousands were maimed when poisonous gas leaked from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, central India, in 1984.

Dow bought Union Carbide 17 years later, and has always maintained it did not own or operate the Bhopal plant and that legal claims regarding the gas leak were resolved when Union Carbide paid compensation for those killed or injured.

But human rights campaigners say 27 years on, the pollution has still not been cleaned up, and have challenged Boris Johnson and Sebastian Coe to drink water from Bhopal – neither did.

Ms. Alexander said: “I don’t want to be party to a defence of Dow Chemicals, the company responsible for one of the worst corporate human rights violations in my generation.

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“I believe people should be free to enjoy London 2012 without this toxic legacy on their conscience.”