British Cycling’s deal with climate criminals Shell has been forced into the spotlight – by cyclists themselves

Extinction Rebellion protest at British Cycling Shell
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Extinction Rebellion Midlands protested outside British Cycling’s AGM on Sunday 19 November to highlight the sport’s controversial sponsorship by oil and gas multinational Shell.

‘Get Shell out of British Cycling’

Around twenty protesters descended on the Edgbaston Park Hotel in Birmingham where the cycling body’s annual general meeting was taking place. Banners reading ‘Get Shell Out Of British Cycling’ and ‘No Future In Fossil Fuels’ were on display, as well as green flares to symbolise ‘greenwashing’:

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Michael Bastow an engineer from Oswestry and a member of British Cycling, says:

We’re here to expose British Cycling’s unethical decision to take oil money from a corporation that is wrecking the planet.

We want them to know that the problem has not gone away and that we will keep up the protests until they stop taking blood money from Shell. This multinational corporation is one of the biggest contributors to climate breakdown and it is using British Cycling to greenwash its image. I can’t imagine what it’s like for our elite riders to have to race while wearing the Shell logo on their kit. They certainly can’t be proud of it.

BBC local news reported on the protest:

Last October, Shell agreed a controversial eight-year sponsorship deal with the UK’s main governing body for cycling. The multi-million pound partnership led to protests and outrage among the cycling community and beyond.

‘Flabbergasted at the audacity’

The partnership was described by a senior official as ‘shaking hands with the devil’. In the face of potential protests, British Cycling moved its 2022 AGM online to avoid disruption. This year’s AGM returned to being held in person. However, despite the departure of CEO Brian Facer, who brokered the deal, British Cycling has done nothing to address the anger of its members over the controversial sponsorship:

Laura Baldwin, an Olympic Team GB sailor, says:

Shocking, isn’t it? I’m flabbergasted at the audacity of Shell and British Cycling.

Rebecca Leaper, an ex GB team cyclist, says:

What were BC thinking, taking dirty money from Shell? Cycling should be part of the solution to the climate crisis, not making it even worse. We are just part of Shell’s advertising budget which is more than they spend on renewables, do they think we’re stupid? There’s no future for cycling on a dead planet

Complicit in climate wrecking?

Amae, a student from Birmingham, says:

Shell is desperate to clean up its dirty image. Instead of promoting them, BC should have told them to get on their bike! Shell has known about the damage fossil fuels are doing to the climate since the 1980s. Instead of tackling the problem, though, they tried to hide it. Today we all know that fossil fuels are destroying the climate and the environment, and will cause millions of deaths.

Shell sues those who call out their crimes and they fight those who seek compensation in court. No amount of greenwash can wipe out that stain and British Cycling’s good name can only be damaged by association with it.

Extinction Rebellion Midlands is calling on all concerned citizens to tell British Cycling that Shell’s greenwash is not acceptable. It said:

Many of us are keen cyclists who know that cycling is a key component of the shift to a cleaner, more sustainable transport system. This is why we’re stunned that British Cycling has accepted millions of pounds in sponsorship from Shell.

A petition telling the organisation to reject the sponsorship deal can be found here.

Featured image via Pat McCarthy/Extinction Rebellion Midlands, and video via Extinction Rebellion Midlands

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