New Scientist Live sponsored by oil and arms companies
The upcoming 'New Scientist Live' festival should be an exciting opportunity to be inspired by some of the big names in science. But we were surprised to discover they had chosen, as the sponsor for the Earth Zone, Shell, one of the fossil fuel companies whose activities are endangering the very biodiversity the event is celebrating. The choice of BAE Systems as another sponsor will also raise eyebrows among anyone aware of their contribution to the ongoing tragedy in Yemen.
We have joined with other campaign groups and organisations who want to open up a debate about these sponsorship deals. Our a joint statement below calls on New Scientist to adopt an ethical sponsorship policy for future events, including avoiding companies whose core business exacerbates conflict or climate change.
If you'd like to see different sponsors next year, you can take action today by sigining our petition.
"This Thursday, 'New Scientist Live' will open at London's ExCel Centre, described excitingly by its organisers as 'a festival of ideas and discovery'. But New Scientist has had a particularly bad idea already – the festival will be prominently sponsored by Shell, a major oil company that has funded attempts to undermine climate science, and BAE Systems, an arms company that willingly sells weapons to repressive regimes. By associating their brands with this family-friendly event, these irresponsible companies will deflect attention from their many environmental and human rights impacts around the world.
With no hint of irony, Shell will sponsor the 'Earth Zone', attaching its brand to discussions about climate change. Meanwhile, it is out exploring for new sources of oil and gas around the world – fossil fuels that we can't afford to burn if we are to prevent devastating climate change. And BAE Systems will be branding the 'Engineering Zone' and guarantees that visitors will 'learn something new and exciting'. But will they learn the reality behind this dangerous arms company, and how its weapons are playing a central role in Saudi Arabia's bombardment of Yemen? By signing these sponsorship deals, New Scientist is giving these unethical companies a social legitimacy they just don't deserve.
With big names from the fields of science, engineering and the arts set to appear – from astronaut Tim Peake to author Margaret Atwood – Shell and BAE Systems are set to clean-up their brands by buying into the reputation of others. In a world facing record-breaking extreme weather and numerous wars, it is essential that major corporations that help fuel this destruction and profit from conflict and repression are not allowed to hide behind the positive reputation of science. New Scientist should take a stand and cut its ties to these sponsors."
- "At New Scientist Live, arms and oil companies are buying credibility from science"
- "Asking the big questions about the ethics of New Scientist's sponsorship choices"
- "Sponsorship makes New Scientist complicit in hiding human rights and environmental abuse"