Many fossil fuel companies – particularly oil companies – sponsor iconic arts institutions and cultural events in order to improve their reputation and maintain their influence. Putting their logo on the arts allows fossil fuel corporations to present themselves as respectable, accepted and necessary members of society, and gives them exclusive access to elite audiences and decision-makers. This must END.
The #fossilfreeculture movement in the UK has already clocked up some major wins, including ending BP’s sponsorship of the Tate galleries and the Edinburgh International Festival, and Shell’s sponsorship of classical music in the Southbank Centre and the climate gallery at the London Science Museum.
In the US, after pressure from scientists and campaigners, five museums have divested from fossil fuels, cancelled fossil fuel sponsorships, or implemented gifts policies refusing fossil fuel funds. This includes fossil fuel billionaire David Koch stepping down from the board of the American Museum of Natural History, and the museum shifting its endowments away from fossil fuels shortly afterwards.
There have also been wins in Australia, Ireland and Norway, and new campaigns recently launched in the Netherlands targeting Shell’s partnership with the Van Gogh museum, and in France with a campaign targeting the Louvre’s sponsorship by oil giant Total.
Many #fossilfreeculture actions have involved creativity, music, visual art, and performances inside sponsored institutions without permission.
Watch this space to see what the #fossilfreeculture movement is planning as part of the Global Divestment Mobilisation.