brands under fire

30 Years On, Bhopal Disaster Weighs on Victims—and Dow Chemical's Reputation

Posted by Dale Buss on December 3, 2014 05:05 PM

Before BP and the Exxon Valdez, the Bhopal pesticide plant leak in India—which happened 30 years ago this week—remains the world's worst industrial disaster.

Is the toxic legacy of the Bhopal gas explosion disaster at a Union Carbide plant in India any responsibility of U.S.-based Dow Chemical, which now owns Union Carbide? Or is it fully on the shoulders of the Indian government that settled with Union Carbide 25 years ago?

Or is it a brand-building and corporate citizenship opportunity for today's Dow management team to alleviate the continued suffering of many among the population of Bhopal's some half-million Indian victims? So many questions, and so much angst, as the company faces protests this week by Bhopal survivors still fighting for compensation.

The gas leak from the pesticide plant killed about 2,500 people almost instantly when the pesticide factory began to seep toxins and the explosion occurred. But that was just the beginning of its repercussions—and some major issues remain unresolved.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

London 2012 Olympic Athletes Now Hunting for Endorsement Gold

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 14, 2012 03:05 PM

The five young women who won Olympic gymnastics gold for the United States in London were repeatedly called the Fab Five by television announcers and others. But that term has already been trademarked by basketball player Jalen Rose, who was on the 1991 Michigan team that used that same nickname.

So USA Gymnastics is planning to try and trademark the term “Fierce Five” to honor the team and make a few bucks in the process, according to Bloomberg. The team will have to battle for the trademark, though it will likely be easier than beating out Russia for the gold to get it. Continue reading...

in the spotlight

London 2012 Watch: British PM Backs Dow as Mega-McDonald's Defended

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 12, 2012 02:31 PM

Dow Chemical isn’t backing out as a sponsor of the Olympics this summer in London and its name will be plastered (after all) over the stadium that will host the Opening Ceremonies. This, of course, has not been sitting right with folks in India, where the disastrous gas leak of 1984 by Union Carbide, which has since become a subsidiary of Dow, killed more than 20,000 people, according to the Indian government.

The Indian Olympic Association has hinted that it may pull out of London 2012 because of Dow’s involvement, even though Dow continues to point out that it did not own Union Carbide at the time of the disaster.

Protests notwithstanding, British Prime Minister David Cameron told CNN-IBN on Sunday that "it would be a very sad day" if India decided to boycott the Games.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

London 2012 Watch: IOC Keeps Olympics Vow to Dow

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 17, 2012 06:06 PM

At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the India Olympic Committee sent 56 athletes to compete and came home with its best performance in history: one gold (men’s 10m air rifle shooting) and two bronze (wrestling and boxing).

It remains unclear if any Indian athletes will be showing up at the London 2012 Summer Games due to the massive presence of Olympic sponsor Dow Chemicals, which is “sponsoring a $11.4-million decorative wrap that will be installed around London's Olympic Stadium,” according to the Associated Press.

The problem stems from Dow’s ownership of Union Carbide, which it bought in 2000, 16 years after Union’s plant in Bhopal had a gas leak that “killed an estimated 15,000 people and injured half a million,” the AP notes. While Dow didn’t own Union when the incident happened, critics say the company is “responsible for lingering groundwater contamination and other issues,” the AP notes.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

Dow Chemical London 2012 Olympic Sponsorship Under Fire

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 12, 2011 04:02 PM

It’s been 27 years since gas leaked out of a Union Carbide pesticide plant in India and killed about 15,000 people. It also injured an additional 500,000 and is still causing health problems in the area today, according to the Indian government.

Union Carbide is owned by Dow Chemical, which happens to be one of the sponsors of next summer’s London Olympics, a fact that is not bringing smiles to many people in India. And Dow isn’t just any sponsor. It is the one that the London Organizing Committee has selected to sponsor  a “wrap that will envelope the main Olympic Stadium,” according to the London Telegraph.

“Victims of the accident, as well as former Indian Olympians and officials, have been pressuring Olympic organizers to drop Dow as a sponsor,” the Associated Press reports. “Less than two weeks ago, protesters in Bhopal burned an effigy of the head of the Olympic organizing committee, Sebastian Coe,” who won four Olympic medals for running in the 1980 and 1984 Games. Also burned in effigy was Indian Olympic Association president Vijay Kumar Malhotra, the Telegraph reports. 

One person who is also not excited about Dow’s involvement is a member of the organizing committee, Sir Robin Wales. "I believe the decision to accept sponsorship from Dow Chemical and in particular the decision to have that company so prominently connected to the iconic Olympic Stadium is worthy of a further review,” Wales said, the Telegraph reports. “I am disappointed by the decision not to look again at the deal."

Coe, however, is all for Dow’s involvement.Continue reading...

BP Watch: Cap Removed Post-Accident

Posted by Shirley Brady on June 23, 2010 01:45 PM

On Bob Dudley's first day running its cleanup operations, BP was forced to remove containment cap following an accident involving an underwater robot. MSNBC's live video feed shows the oil gushing unfettered while crews work to repair the damage.

New York State pension fund joins class action investor lawsuit, while UBS, Aviva and other investors see opportunity.

BP is allocating $500 million to academic research on the spill's impact.

Environmentalists are alarmed about sea turtles' fate, while concerns are also being raised about cleanup workers' health.Continue reading...

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brand news

In the News: BP Planning More Ads

Posted by Shirley Brady on June 7, 2010 08:00 AM

BP shares jump on news it's capping 10,000+ barrels/day, though its (now $1.25B) cleanup may continue into 4th quarter and claims mount. Despite last week's ad with CEO Tony Hayward flopping, the company will release new ads as soon as this week. The White House, meanwhile, released its own spill update on Saturday.

Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone at its developers conference today.

AT&T implements tiered pricing today; app makers worry usage will drop.

Yahoo integrates, introduces Facebook features.Continue reading...

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