The largest UK education union has formally opposed Ineos sponsorship of a children’s running scheme because of the company’s interests in fracking for shale gas.
The Daily Mile encourages children to run or jog for 15 minutes every day, with the aim of making them fitter, healthier, and more able to concentrate in the classroom.
The National Education Union (NEU) said it supported the idea of the Daily Mile, with its reported benefits for physical and mental health.
But the national executive voted this month to object to Ineos’s sponsorship, now in its third year.
Amanda Brown, Deputy General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“The NEU is opposed to fracking which encourages reliance on fossil fuels and takes the focus away from investing in renewable forms of energy. It is not the solution to the UK’s energy challenges.
“The young people taught by our members recognise this and are demanding change, as witnessed when thousands of students walked out of school to demand climate justice as part of the youth strike 4 climate movement.”
A map on the Daily Mile website indicates that more than 5,000 UK schools have signed up to the initiative. The scheme’s website, name and logo are trademarks of the Daily Mile Foundation, with the same Hampshire address as the Ineos Group.
Ineos Upstream holds the largest number of licences for onshore shale gas exploration in the UK.
Ms Brown said:
“The NEU fully supports the notion of the Daily Mile and its intention of improving the physical and mental health of young children, instilling in them a lifelong habit of exercise.
“However, we strongly object to Ineos sponsorship of this initiative. Ineos holds multiple licences to frack for shale gas and, for the sake of the planet and particularly our children’s futures, we need to move quickly away from a carbon economy.
“We are also concerned about the manufacture of plastics by Ineos; many of the children taught by our members are alarmed at the effect of plastics on marine life.
“Schools are beginning to discover that the Daily Mile is sponsored by a company which is profiting from climate change as a significant player in the oil and gas market, and as a result are withdrawing.
“Sponsorship by Ineos will not encourage participation in the Daily Mile. We would urge Ineos to consider its position and Daily Mile to urgently seek a replacement sponsor.”
Last week, a climate change action group, Parents for Future, invited members to ask schools participating in the Daily Mile to withdraw and join an alternative scheme.
Ineos also sponsors the children’s Go Run for Fun initiative, as well as cycling’s Team Ineos, Ineos Team UK (Britain’s 2021 America’s Cup sailing challenge) and the Eliud Kipchoge attempt to break the two-hour marathon.
DrillOrDrop invited Ineos to comment on the NEU vote. This post will be updated with any response.