For immediate release
UK anti-fracking campaigners are appalled that multinational chemicals giant INEOS, is promoting a national initiative, along with ITV, to encourage primary school children to take part in The Daily Mile(1), promoting health and fitness in youngsters.
The first advert was broadcast on primetime television, on 7 April’s Saturday Night Takeaway show, urging teachers to sign up to the scheme.
Whilst any health initiative for our youngsters is, on the surface, a commendable aim, the very fact that the sponsorship behind this campaign comes from one of the biggest global polluters and the UK’s biggest player in the nascent shale gas industry, INEOS, is outwardly shocking.
Further investigations have revealed that The Daily Mile, in fact, originated from INEOS’s American operations, under the ICAN Foundation(2) umbrella, with a whole host of energy companies as partners.
Last year, Drill or Drop reported(3) that an INEOS-run campaign called Go Run For Fun was dropped by schools in Derbyshire over concerns for INEOS’s plans in the local area. The event went ahead with organisation instead, by the Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire Schools Sport Partnerships.
Rife in the headlines of late, INEOS has been highlighted for its bullying of landowners in several counties: legal action has been threatened when landowners have refused consent for seismic testing to be conducted on privately-owned land. Notably, National Trust has also refused(4) land access under its historic country estate, Clumber Park in Nottingham. INEOS has now proceeded to take the Trust to court over this matter.
INEOS are focussing their fracking plans away from energy production for household needs. They actually want to use the by-products from shale gas as a feedstock(5) for their petrochemical plants and namely, for plastic production.
INEOS is also embroiled in legal challenges from campaigners, including the son of Vivienne Westwood, Joe Corré, who is awaiting a date for a High Court appeal against INEOS’s blatant subversion of democracy, when they organised a secret court hearing to instigate a mass injunction against “persons unknown”, preventing the right of protest against fracking against INEOS or any of its suppliers.
Headed by “Fossil Fuel Fat Cat”(6), Jim Ratcliffe, offshore banking INEOS are noted for a dangerous number of environmental(7) failures, toxic leaks, and health and safety breaches, including a death at INEOS’s Port Lavaca plant in Texas. 21-year-old worker, James Wade Gutierrez was killed in 2015 through hydrogen cyanide poisoning. INEOS was fined just £114,000.
Ratcliffe also has a history of secret lobbying within Westminster, meeting then-Chancellor, George Osborne, and pressuring him to back fracking. Ratcliffe also wanted to “remove the right to strike directly or indirectly” from his workers and slash company taxes.
By using school children and a television advertising schedule to ingratiate themselves into communities, climate campaigners see this as INEOS buying its way into vulnerable hearts and minds.
Jennee Dixon, from East Yorkshire, stated:
“As a qualified teacher and early years’ specialist, I would not involve myself or my children with an initiative like this.
“I find it disturbing that a company like INEOS (who want to undertake an activity that is proven to damage the health of children and pregnant women) should be associated with such a health initiative.
“This is completely unethical and we cannot teach our children that this is at all acceptable - imagine if The Daily Mile were to be sponsored by the tobacco industry: there is no difference. In years to come, (and if INEOS do damage - which it will if allowed) everyone will be shocked by this.”
Lorraine Inglis, from London, stated:
"When the peer-reviewed studies that are being produced regarding the fracking impacts to our health and environment are being released almost every week, why would such a healthy initiative like The Daily Mile cave into sponsorship from INEOS, one of worse petrochemical companies in the UK?”
Retired school teacher, Sue Cuthbert from Ryedale, said:
“I would certainly not wish my pupils to be involved in any way with a company such as INEOS. I urge ITV to rethink its involvement with INEOS. I feel that INEOS is only doing this as a promotion
Campaigners have vowed to challenge this unholy union between a fossil fuel company masking as a health scheme, and further awareness initiatives are being planned. Children's health impacts from fracking are documented widely, including low birth weight(8), chemical pollutants affecting brain health(9) and increased incidences of asthma(10).
Notes to the Editor: