By taking sponsorship from Shell and BAE Systems for this year's 'New Scientist Live' festival, the science magazine is giving oil and arms a legitimacy they don't deserve.
Several campaign groups and organisations have now come together to oppose these sponsorship deals, and have made the statement below. You can sign our joint petition now calling on New Scientist to adopt an ethical sponsorship policy for future events, including avoiding companies whose core business exacerbates conflict or climate change.
"This Thursday, 'New Scientist Live' will open at London's ExCel Centre, described excitingly by its organisers as 'a festival of ideas and discovery'. But New Scientist has had a particularly bad idea already – the festival will be prominently sponsored by Shell, a major oil company that has funded attempts to undermine climate science, and BAE Systems, an arms company that willingly sells weapons to repressive regimes. By associating their brands with this family-friendly event, these irresponsible companies will deflect attention from their many environmental and human rights impacts around the world.
With no hint of irony, Shell will sponsor the 'Earth Zone', attaching its brand to discussions about climate change. Meanwhile, it is out exploring for new sources of oil and gas around the world – fossil fuels that we can't afford to burn if we are to prevent devastating climate change. And BAE Systems will be branding the 'Engineering Zone' and guarantees that visitors will 'learn something new and exciting'. But will they learn the reality behind this dangerous arms company, and how its weapons are playing a central role in Saudi Arabia's bombardment of Yemen? By signing these sponsorship deals, New Scientist is giving these unethical companies a social legitimacy they just don't deserve.
With big names from the fields of science, engineering and the arts set to appear – from astronaut Tim Peake to author Margaret Atwood – Shell and BAE Systems are set to clean-up their brands by buying into the reputation of others. In a world facing record-breaking extreme weather and numerous wars, it is essential that major corporations that help fuel this destruction and profit from conflict and repression are not allowed to hide behind the positive reputation of science. New Scientist should take a stand and cut its ties to these sponsors."
Art Not Oil
Campaign Against Climate Change
Campaign Against the Arms Trade
Scientists for Global Responsibility
To add your support for this statement, please email email@example.com