Opinion

Opinion: Has COP26 too many commercial backers?

I have just had a quick look at the COP26 website, prepared by the UK government for the upcoming UN climate change conference at the end of the month.

To my shock, horror and dismay, its pages were festooned with the logos of numerous multinational corporations, all deemed to be ‘principal partners’ for the event.

Let me name four of them: Unilever; Sky; Microsoft; and Hitachi.

I think it’s worth giving the magnitude of all this a little bit of thought. Last time I checked, the threat of global warming will impact everyone on this planet.

Yet, courtesy of its actions, the UK government is giving all these overtly commercial organisations the opportunity to suggest that they could be part of the solution.

Advertising opportunities

Everyone involved in organising COP26 will, no doubt, claim that I am barking up the wrong tree. But I’m not – the impact of subliminal advertising has been known about for generations.

Otherwise, why would these aforementioned commercial organisations want to throw their money towards the Glasgow summit in the first place?

In my opinion, getting into bed with commercial sponsors was a total abandonment of the UK government’s moral obligations, where climate change is concerned.

London has just spent billions of pounds keeping the UK economy afloat throughout the period of the Covid-19 pandemic.

So I assume that the money was available within the Whitehall coffers to cover the actual cost of hosting a reasonably comprehensive COP26 website, without the need for commercial sponsors getting on board at all.

UK government and COP26 ‘partners’

So here’s the real question: Why did the UK government feel the need to get into bed with big business, in the first place, when it come to communicating the details of an event, the outcomes from which will determine the future of all humanity?

I sense this has everything to do with the way that the real movers and shakers in London go about making decisions across so many areas of government policy today.

Think tanks seem to hold the upper hand in so many of these matters. And who is funding these so-called think tanks? Answers on a post card please.

But it’s not all bad news. During the recent finals of the UEFA European Championships, Cristiano Ronaldo took part in a very well profiled press conference. As he was taking his seat, the renowned footballer moved two very prominently placed bottles of Coca-Cola to one side. While doing this he was heard to say ‘agua’.

This one simple word wiped millions from Coca-Cola’s share price within a very short period of time. I rest my case.