British Cycling has made headlines this week for all the wrong reasons, after the announcement of Shell as a new sponsor has gone over very poorly, to put it mildly. With environmental groups like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth condemning the sponsorship and outlets from BBC to CNN calling out Shell’s ‘sportswashing’/‘greenwashing’ technique, the partnership announcement clearly hasn’t gone as smoothly as British Cycling or Shell may have hoped.
Sportswashing, similar greenwashing, is when a company uses a sports team to improve their reputation. Sponsoring a cycling program is arguably both, since cycling is both a professional sport and an eco-friendly activity that—let’s be a bit biased here—can save the world.
The first hard yikes comes from the fact that British Cycling’s press release about the partnership focused on their commitment to Net Zero, lowering their carbon footprint. Video player poster image “We’re looking forward to working alongside Shell UK over the rest of this decade to widen access to the sport, support our elite riders and help our organisation and sport take important steps towards net zero – things we know our members are incredibly passionate about," Brian Facer, CEO of British Cycling, said.
How an oil company is going to help reach net zero, well, that’s a good question!
“The partnership reflects the shared ambitions of Shell UK and British Cycling to get to net zero in the UK as well as encouraging low and zero-carbon forms of transport such as cycling and electric vehicles," David Bunch, Shell UK Country […]