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The tide has turned on BP sponsorship – now institutions must act

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To BP, or not to BP? That is the question that leading artists and musicians have been putting to BP-sponsored cultural institutions in the last fortnight. And on Friday, Oscar-winning actor Sir Mark Rylance added to the mounting pressure by announcing his resignation from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) over its ties to BP, saying: “I do not wish to be associated with BP any more than I would with an arms dealer, a tobacco salesman or anyone who willfully destroys the lives of others alive or unborn.”

The ethical case against oil sponsorship is clear cut. In the midst of a climate emergency, BP is continuing to lobby against climate legislation, while planning to spend £41bn on exploring for new oil over the coming decade. But despite this, those at the top of the RSC and other BP-sponsored institutions are still standing by their sponsor, continuing to give legitimacy to a company whose business plans makes a mockery of the Paris climate goals. Directors and Boards of Trustees have a duty to protect the reputation of their institutions and make sure........

© Independent