Edinburgh International Festival drops BP as poll shows public against oil sponsorship

Press Release 6 Apr 2016 anna

Edinburgh International Festival drops BP as poll shows public against oil sponsorship

  • Sponsorship deal between BP and Edinburgh Festival dropped after 34 years
  • New opinion poll shows 1 in 2 of Londoners want British Museum to stop promoting BP’s logo
  • 62% of British Museum staff think BP sponsorship is ‘unethical’

Further survey details available on request. 

Contact at Platform: Anna Galkina / 07942044472 / [email protected] / @platformlondon.
Contact at BP Or Not BP? (regarding Edinburgh International Festival) Jess Worth / 07946645726 / [email protected]

Edinburgh International Festival has confirmed on Twitter[1] that BP is no longer sponsoring its programme.

Last year, Festival star Simon McBurney criticised the BP relationship, alongside Emma Thompson, Mark Rylance, and Caryl Churchill. Several theatres including London’s Royal Court and Arcola have joined the Fossil Funds Free commitment, pledging to refuse all fossil fuel sponsorship.

An opinion poll commissioned by Platform last week shows that one in two Londoners want British Museum to drop BP sponsorship. The poll was conducted by Morar Consulting and results released today, to mark the arrival of the museum’s new director, Hartwig Fischer.

Amanda Grimm from the group BP or not BP? Scotland said:

‘We are delighted that the sponsorship deal between BP and the Edinburgh International Festival has not been renewed. The world is shifting away from fossil fuels, and we believe that arts and cultural institutions, as trend-setters and forward-thinkers, should be at the forefront of this vital shift.’

Anna Galkina of arts group Platform said,

‘With Tate and Edinburgh Festival deals ending, it’s clear that buying public trust from cultural institutions is becoming untenable for BP. The British Museum and other oil-sponsored institutions are behind the times.’

The opinion poll by Morar Consulting[2] shows that one in two Londoners (49.6%) want British Museum to drop BP sponsorship. The British Museum’s annual budget is £120 million, of which £45 million comes from government grant-in-aid. In comparison, BP pays £500,000 – less than half of a per cent – to place its logo on the Museum.

According to the survey,

  • 37.5% Londoners thought the museum should choose a different corporate sponsor that isn’t an oil company.
  • 12.9% thought it should avoid all large corporate sponsors.
  • 27.8% said the museum should make another deal with BP, and
  • 22.5% responded “I don’t know”.

Another survey of British Museum staff showed that 62%  think BP sponsorship is ‘unethical’. This is survey was conducted  by the Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents workers in major museums including the British Museum and Tate.

On the first week of tenure of the museum’s new director, Hartwig Fischer, 100 celebrities and public figures urged Mr Fischer to end the sponsorship deal in a letter published in the Guardian this week.

Gulf Coast advocate Karen Savage said,

“For the British Museum to continue its relationship with BP would not only condone BP’s destruction of the US Gulf Coast, but would condone BP’s continued abuses of our great Earth and her people. The Museum must stand with the US Gulf Coast and the world and say no to BP sponsorship and no to fossil fuels.”

PCS Union Culture Sector president Clara Paillard said,

“PCS Culture Sector condemns the increased commercialisation and corporatisation of our public museums and galleries. Oil and arms sponsorships go hand-to-hand with privatisations, zero hours contracts and attacks on terms & conditions of museum workers. Looking at BP track record on human rights, we believe their sponsorship is a breach of the Museum Association Code of Ethics.”

Jess Worth from BP or not BP?, who co-ordinated the protests at least year’s Edinburgh International Festival, said:

‘It’s less than a month since Tate parted company with BP and the dominoes are clearly starting to fall. The EIF has walked away from a 34-year partnership because being associated with BP was doing too much damage to its reputation. Big oil has been embedded in our museums and festivals for too long but now the shift to a fossil free culture is taking off. However, there is more to be done in Edinburgh. Now the Science Festival must clear out its fossil fuel funders and the Portrait Gallery should close its doors to BP.”



[2] Interviews are conducted online by Morar Consulting using an email invitation and an online survey.
Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results.
Sample was selected from Crowdology™ , an online panel owned and operated by Morar Consulting – this panel complies with all MRS and ESOMAR regulations.  The Crowdology™ panel is balanced across regional, age and gender demographic factors, and is nationally representative of the UK population. Panel Quality Management is carried out frequently to ensure reliable surveys.

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