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I know how difficult fundraising is and how valuable an ongoing relationship with a major corporate sponsor can be. But in the case of BP, I feel that this is outweighed by the need to act urgently on the climate crisis we are now facing. Because this is such a high-profile sponsorship deal, I don’t think it’s possible to be neutral. Either we distance ourselves from one of the world’s biggest fossil fuel producers and embrace the challenge of decarbonising, or we continue to give legitimacy to BP and its business activities that are seriously exacerbating the problem.
With arts funding in decline, growing numbers of artists have little choice over which opportunities to accept or reject, and as the leading competition in its field, the Gallery’s annual award provides an unparalleled platform. That we must be prepared to associate our work with BP, providing a veneer of respectability to one of the world’s worst polluters and drivers of environmental destruction simply to participate, is deeply unfair.
We support the Paris agreement and are taking action to advance the world’s transition to a low-carbon future. We’re reducing emissions from our own operations, down 1.7m tonnes last year, improving our products to support our customers’ efforts to reduce their emissions and creating new low-carbon businesses. We are committed to being part of the solution to the climate challenge facing all of us.