Statement in relation to resignation of Meredith Alexander

January 26, 2012

Following the resignation of Meredith Alexander, a Commissioner advising on supply chains and behaviour change, Shaun McCarthy, Chair of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, said:

“I am grateful for the work and support that Meredith Alexander has provided to the Commission. I fully respect her decision to resign so she can shine the spotlight on the plight of the victims. I share Meredith’s views that what happened in Bhopal is an appalling human tragedy. I believe that this issue has raised wider questions about corporate behaviour, past and present, and how ethical issues are effectively factored into decision making.

As per our remit, the Commission did provide retrospective assurance of LOCOG’s procurement of the stadium wrap and found that they had followed their processes and had opted for the most sustainable solution available out of the six companies that tendered.

The issues raised by Dow Chemical’s supply of the wrap challenges organisations to consider new approaches that incorporate a broader range of ethical issues into decision making. This is why we agreed at our Commission meeting in January, at which Meredith was a constructive contributor, to address this in our forthcoming Annual Review. It is disappointing that Meredith will not be working with us to progress thinking in this area.

The Commission has always adhered to the highest standards of independence consistent with its remit to provide strategic assurance on the extent to which the Olympic delivery bodies are living up to their promises in respect of sustainability. It has exercised its role and influence across a range of issues including energy, waste and merchandising amongst many others since its formation five years ago.

In addition, as part of our role and legacy, we take responsibility for understanding the lessons from the London Games including in relation to the work we do, our remit and our scope. It is my hope that all the bodies in the Olympic and Paralympic family will join the Commission in openly sharing the lessons learned and help influence organisations such as the IOC to drive best practice in sustainability at future Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

 

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Points of Clarification: 

There has been a number of inaccuracies in the subsequent media coverage of Meredith Alexander’s resignation which are clarified below:

  • Neither the Commission not its Chair, Shaun McCarthy, has the power to approve or authorise sponsorship deals. This power lies solely with LOCOG at a UK level, and with the IOC at an international level. The decision to select Dow Chemical as the stadium wrap supplier was made without consulting the Commission.

 

  • The Commission has never at any point expressed support for any statement made by Dow Chemical relating to the Bhopal and Union Carbide disaster. The Commission’s remit prohibits any public comment on the wider corporate actions of Olympic sponsors as our remit is confined to the delivery of the 2012 Games programme.

 

  • The Commission’s independent investigation into Dow Chemical focused primarily on the question: whether or not the stadium wrap supplied by Dow Chemical offered the most sustainable solution in the context of that procurement. This investigation was conducted several months after the decision was made by LOCOG to appoint Dow Chemical as the wrap supplier. The Commission’s conclusion was that LOCOG had adequately followed its own sustainability procedures, and that of the six companies tendering for the wrap, Dow’s score for sustainability was the highest.

 

  • The Commission also reviewed LOCOG’s decision in the context of its risk and due diligence procedures and found they were followed. However, this experience has demonstrated that current industry practice, of which LOCOG is reflective, is not good enough and lessons must be learnt for the future.

 

  • The Commission has separately advised that future Olympiads adopt measures to ensure that corporate sponsors at all levels are more actively engaged with the values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is the Commission’s general expectation that all companies engaging with the Games should practice the principles of good ethical behaviour throughout their business.

 

  • Shaun McCarthy, Chair of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, was paid £68,259.00 for 130 days work between October 2010 and September 2011 (the latest period). This is based on two day rates of £520.20 (October to March) and £530.60 (April to September), this is an increase of 2% in accordance with the indexation principles contained in his contract. He is employed as an independent advisor and does not receive any of the usual employment rights such as sick pay, holiday pay and pension. He contributes 130 days per year to the role.

 

  • All Commissioners, including Meredith Alexander, are officially appointed on behalf of the Olympic Board by the Mayor of London on the recommendation of the Chair of the Commission. Representatives of the Olympic delivery bodies are part of the interview panel along with Shaun McCarthy.

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