COP26: Sponsors deem the climate summit as ‘mismanaged’ and 'very last minute'

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Oct 18, 2021, 03:40 PM(IST)

Cop26 Photograph:( AFP )

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Ten major sponsors of the summit include Sky, energy giants Hitachi, National Grid, Scottish Power and SSE, US tech titan Microsoft, and FTSE companies GSK, NatWest, Reckitt, Sainsbury’s and Unilever

Companies that spent millions of pounds to sponsor the Cop26 climate summit have condemned it as “mismanaged” and “very last minute."

The sponsors include some of Britain’s biggest companies and they have raised formal complaints blaming “very inexperienced” civil servants for delayed decisions, poor communication and a breakdown in relations between the organisers and firm.

Ten major sponsors of the summit include Sky, energy giants Hitachi, National Grid, Scottish Power and SSE, US tech titan Microsoft, and FTSE companies GSK, NatWest, Reckitt, Sainsbury’s and Unilever. 

According to a report by The Guardian, a letter has been sent to the organisers, which is written by broadcaster Sky and co-signed by senior leaders from other Cop26 sponsors. 

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This has raised concerns with them over various problems. Unilever has denied signing the letter penned by Sky. Other partners include the carmaker Jaguar Land Rover and the furniture retailer Ikea.

Organisers of the Cop26 promised sponsors an “outstanding opportunity” and “unique benefits” in exchange for their support. 

This will give them a chance to promote their brands at the conference “green zone” exhibition space and the participation of government ministers at their events.

One source, employed by a Cop26 sponsor said that “the biggest frustration” was the lack of information about how the event will run. 

“They had an extra year to prepare for Cop due to Covid, but it doesn’t feel like this time was used to make better progress. Everything feels very last minute," the source was quoted by The Guardian.

There have been complaints about unmet expectations, and deepening concerns over delays to the green zone plans. 

Also read | COP26: UK to push plan to halt and reverse global deforestation by 2030

They have also raised complaints that ministers have not always been available for their events, as agreed as part of the sponsor deals.

Energy company sponsors, Hitachi, National Grid, Scottish Power and SSE were particularly frustrated because they were under the impression that no other energy brands would feature at Cop26. 

However, the “blue zone”, which is organised by the UN, will include rival brands.

In response, a Cop26 spokesperson has said the organisers were “working closely” with sponsors. This is expected to increase the value-for-money for taxpayers, and reduce the overall financial cost of Cop26.

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