Sailing governing body urged to oppose Ineos sponsorship of UK America’s Cup team

181010 Ineos letter hand-in Talk Fracking2

Joe Corre, of Talk Fracking, hands in letter to World Sailing opposing Ineos sponsorship of the UK America’s Cup team, 10 October 2018. Photo: Richard Hillgrove

A group of campaigners, academics and environmental organisations has called on World Sailing to oppose the Ineos sponsorship of the UK America’s Cup team because of the company’s involvement in fracking.

In an open letter to World Sailing President, Kim Anderson, the signatories said the presence of Ineos Team UK undermined the governing body’s “commitments to respecting and safeguarding our environment”.

Open letter to World Sailing president Kim Anderson on Ineos sponsorship of UK Americas Cup team

The letter, written by the human rights lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, said:

“The ongoing presence of Ineos Team UK in World Sailing’s headline event single-handedly shatters these endeavours, bringing both World Sailing, and yourself, into disrepute. This is not ‘very environmentally aware’ behaviour that World Sailing claims to embody and promote.”

The signatories, which include Greenpeace, Break Free from Plastic movement, anti-fracking and climate action groups, Food and Water Watch and other human rights lawyers, called on World Sailing to end its silence about Ineos’ sponsorship of the UK team.

They said the America’s Cup competition should not be associated with a company which, they said, was “known for its environmentally destructive practices and ongoing assault on the democratic right to protest.”

Ineos holds the largest number of shale gas exploration licences in the UK. Last year, it was granted an injunction against protests at its shale gas sites in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire. In central Scotland, Ineos faces prosecution over failing to limit pollution from gas flaring near Grangemouth.

The letter also suggested that the Ineos sponsorship was incompatible with World Sailing’s commitment to address the crisis of plastic pollution in oceans. It said:

“Ineos is about fracking, plastics and pollution of our climate and oceans – not about the ethical and environmental standards of the World Sailing Association.”

The letter was delivered to World Sailing’s headquarters in London by Joe Corre, founder of the campaign group, Talk Fracking. He was accompanied by a 6ft tall model penguin, dolphin, fish and seagull with plastic bags over the heads.

Mr Corre said:

“World Sailing entertaining the greenwasher INEOS as a sponsor of the America’s Cup entrant Team UK smacks of total hypocrisy. They must make a stand on behalf of our oceans, drowning in plastic”.

“Sir Ben Ainslie should be ashamed of himself taking US$153 million of Jim Ratcliffe’s dirty money to enter the America’s Cup. Ben Ainslie turning a blind eye to what Ineos really are doesn’t cut it”.

Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director and Founder of Food & Water Watch said:

“Plastic production wreaks havoc on people and the planet—from the fracking wells and pipelines in Pennsylvania to the beaches and oceans across the globe that are polluted by plastic manufactured in Scotland and elsewhere.

“We are literally drowning In plastic, and companies like Ineos are making billions with the destruction of our climate and oceans. It is time to unite and stop them once and for all.”

World Sailing’s chief executive, Andy Hunt, said

“World Sailing does not sanction or otherwise approve sponsorship of competitors or teams. Advertising by facing boats must comply with World Sailing’s Advertising Code within the Racing Rules of Sailing which includes an obligation for all advertising to meet generally accepted moral and ethical standards.

“World Sailing has laid out its own ambitious commitment to help create a better world through sport through Sustainability Agenda 2030 and we have no reason to believe that the 36th America’s Cup will not comply with World Sailing policy.

“World Sailing’s Sustainability Agenda 2030 outlines how the sport will contribute to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The Sustainability Agenda 2030 is split up into World Sailing’s six main operational areas with a total of 56 different targets. The targets range from participation to gender equality, water quality to single use plastic.”

DrillOrDrop invited Ineos to comment. This post will be updated with any response.

54 replies »

            • Does anyone wear a suit made of plastic?

              Obviously i go to different type of clubs? As if its any of your business, i prefer to wear wool and cotton and leather sometimes, (I dont go to those types of clubs either?) not nasty sticky plasticky stuff.

              Interesting that anti antis like to call others hypocrites’ without any evidence of clothing or anything else, and yet have such a low opinion of plastics themselves? Sort of a love hate relationship with plastic?, But thats getting back to those clubs again? I will quickly draw a veil (cotton) over that!

              Hypocrisy was your accusation, not mine and not true either.

    • Perhaps the Skull and Crossbones is not an acceptably moral, sustainable or ethical flag to hoist above the World Sustainability Agenda 2030?

      You could always organise a PR hot desk protest excursion?

      Swim slowly in front of a yacht?

  1. Excellent that people are drawing attention to INEOS’s disgraceful sponsorship of the British team, at the same time as this company are polluting the oceans and #fracking4plastic. The World Sailing authorities had better look forward to years of action and negative publicity due to this link with one of the most polluting companies in the world. Not only does INEOS produce plastics that end up polluting the oceans, the fracking that produces it also drives climate change, which is killing coral reefs and producing so much toxic waste that areas such as the Gulf of Mexico are dead zones. Until this sponsorship is rejected, all claims from the World Sailing body that they are ‘environmentally aware’ will be seen as hypocritical greenwashing.

  2. Come on Joe, put £110m into the challenge to replace INEOS. A coracle should be okay, very environmentally friendly and the other teams could fail totally due to their hilarity.

    Maybe first, generate the funds yourself to do so?

    Thanks for the laugh. I needed to see a group of dumb animals. Saves me watching kiddies TV.

  3. “Over the last decade we have become increasingly alarmed at the amount of plastic in our oceans.

    More than 8 million tons of it ends up in the ocean every year. If we continue to pollute at this rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

    But where does all this plastic waste come from?

    Most of it is washed into the ocean by rivers. And 90% of it comes from just 10 of them, according to a study.

    Rivers of plastic

    By analyzing the waste found in the rivers and surrounding landscape, researchers were able to estimate that just 10 river systems carry 90% of the plastic that ends up in the ocean.

    Eight of them are in Asia: the Yangtze; Indus; Yellow; Hai He; Ganges; Pearl; Amur; Mekong; and two in Africa – the Nile and the Niger.”


    Perhaps the other 10% comes from Ineos sponsored yachts?

    • Ocean going tankers flush out their tanks in mid ocean, throw their waste overboard, overloaded container ships overturn in high seas and dump their containers and contents overboard, an ocean full of plastic yellow ducks, really! that kind of thing?

    • Mr Corre should watch the fashion industry program, the family being in the business, his feedback would be interesting.

  4. Yes Paul, that was widely known. Even a few antis-maybe. But not so exciting as trying to produce fake news.

    Virtue signalling trumps reason and then correct action these days. And within that mix, a devil has to be created. Could be the 1930s all over again.

    • Do you mean Invasion by totalitarian anti democratic industrialists looking for oil?

      Never again?
      Never here?

      The good old bad old days return once again eh?

  5. Fantastic that people are making the effort to drive home awareness on all fronts. Meanwhile others just want to finger point and criticize those are are trying to make change. Shame on them!!!

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