United Kingdom: Royal Opera House in London to survive without support from oil giant BP

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UKThe Royal Opera House in London will survive without the support of oil giant BP

The London firm will end its sponsorship deal with the British global giant.

A pedestrian walks past the Royal Opera House in London’s West End on July 6, 2020.

AFP

The Royal Opera House in London announced the end of its sponsorship deal with oil giant BP on Wednesday, amid growing pressure on cultural institutions linked to fossil fuel companies. “We have agreed that the partnership will not extend beyond December 2022, when the contract ends,” said a spokesperson for the Royal Opera House. “We thank BP for their financial support for 33 years, which has enabled thousands of people across the country to attend ballet and opera for free,” he added.

Under pressure from environmentalists

Although the Royal Opera House has not officially stated the reason for the end of the partnership, more and more British cultural institutions are turning their backs on the oil companies, which have become unwanted patrons, under pressure from artists and activists.

The Royal Shakespeare Company, a prestigious theater company based in the Bard’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, dropped its sponsorship by British Petroleum in 2019. In London, the National Portrait Gallery also ended its partnership in 2022. It is important to follow in the footsteps of other cultural institutions, such as the British Film Institute, the National Theatre, the National Gallery and the Southbank Centre, which have freed themselves from Shell support in recent years.

The British Museum and the Science Museum have been targeted by environmental activists who have called for an end to their partnerships with oil companies, but have yet to sever their controversial ties to these companies.

In 2019, after activists disrupted a temporary exhibition sponsored by BP, the British Museum told AFP it “understood” the concerns, but stressed that these exhibitions were “expensive to set up and only possible to organize with this kind of support”.

Apart from the cultural world, other sectors are also being targeted by their partnerships with oil companies, such as the future Olympic Games in France in 2024. Oil company TotalEnergies became one of the event’s sponsors in 2019, under pressure from the capital’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who didn’t want a partner with a bad environmental reputation. NGO Greenpeace has attacked the organization of the next Rugby World Cup in France in 2023, with Total Energies as one of the official sponsors.

(AFP)

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