UPDATED: Culprit behind BP hoax revealed

On the eve of the BP AGM in London protest action around oil and gas giants BP has heated up with a hoax press release appearing on a fake London 2012 Olympic Games website stating it has been dropped as a sustainability partner.

However, both the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and BP have fervently denied this is true – instead slamming the release as a hoax.

Speaking to edie, a BP spokesperson said the press release as entirely false, saying “it’s a complete hoax – the release doesn’t come from LOCOG or obviously BP”, adding that “we know it’s a hoax and will be continuing to tell people so”.

At this stage BP said that it would not be taking further action – and admitted it didn’t know who had posted the release, saying “we will remain the sustainability partners to the Olympic Games”.

This was reaffirmed by a LOCOG spokesperson who confirmed to edie that “we know that it’s a hoax and we are investigating internally”, adding that it would not divulge who it suspects at this stage.

This afternoon, however, the Campaign for a More Sustainable Olympics (CAMSOL) came forwards as the culprit, admitting it had “masqueraded” as LOCOG sustainability manager Steve Wren and had posted the false release.

A new release has since been published by CAMSOL in which it states it was aiming to highlight what it believes is an “unethical decision” by LOCOG in making BP its sustainability partner.

The story was picked up by several media outlets, including City AM and LBC radio – although both quickly took down the story after it was confirmed to be a hoax.

Among other inflammatory comments, Harry Broadbent, from CAMSOL, who posed as Wren, said: “Their current business plan of increasing the supply of fossil fuels from dirtier and dirtier sources, such as the tar sands, would lead us to a rise in temperature of 6 degrees – which would spell the end of life as we know it. LOCOG clearly named its Sustainability Partners purely on the basis of who wrote the biggest cheque.”

The release, which was published on LOCOG’s website today (April 11) announced that LOCOG is looking for a new ‘Sustainability Partner’ after an internal review concluded that “BP was no longer going to fill this role”.

It continued by stating that a review, of the sustainability of BP’s business activities and its contribution to climate change, as well as other issues such as waste and biodiversity, concluded that BP “does not meet the standards required to be a champion for Sustainability at London 2012”.

This is says is due to the “extent of its global carbon emissions, its involvement in unsustainable extraction projects such as the Alberta oil sands, and its safety record, particularly in regard to the ongoing ecological impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill”.

Instead it claims it is now looking for a new Sustainability Partner which can “embody the Olympic values of social responsibility, environmental protection and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles”, adding that BP will continue as an oil and gas partner.

In the release LOCOG sustainability partnership manager Steve Wren is quoted as saying: “We are disappointed that BP did not meet the necessary sustainability criteria in our recent review, but we are excited to be looking for a new Sustainability Partner who can act as an effective role model, and help us deliver our vision of the most sustainable games ever.”

While neither party was willing to speculate on who posted the release, BP has its fair share of vocal detractor. Representatives of communities damaged in the Gulf Coast and Tar Sands oil spill disaster, for example, say they want answers at this year’s AGM after being denied entry last year.

BP is set to hold its AGM at the Excel Centre, London tomorrow morning (April 12).

Representing protest group UK Tar Sands Network, Bryan Parras, from Houston, said: “Last year, I was prevented from entering the BP AGM. This year, I will be attempting to deliver an even stronger message to the Board: “You claim that the spill has been cleaned up. This isn’t true.” Oil is still impacting our communities, causing sickness, and triggering a collapse in fish stocks and local livelihoods.”

Group member Derrick Evans, from Gulfport Mississippi, added: “The story BP is trying to sell to the media is that the causes and consequences of the spill have been effectively addressed and the company has moved on. We want shareholders and the board to know that what we are seeing on the ground is very different”, adding that “if this type of risky drilling practice is allowed to continue then it’s only a matter of time before there’s another disaster”.

Carys Matthews

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