Earlier this week British Cycling announced a partnership with oil and gas company Shell UK, prompting criticism from many of its members as well as environmental groups.
On Monday, the national governing body for cycling in Britain announced that Shell would be the new official partner of the federation, resulting in support and investment from the energy and petrochemical firm.
The company will support British Cycling’s work in elite level cycling and para-cycling, along with its advocacy, campaigning, and grassroots organisation work. British Cycling also claimed Shell will help with its planned path to becoming a net zero organisation.
The agreement includes specific investment from Shell UK to support a new programme – to be named ‘Limitless,’ which aims to increase opportunities for disabled people in cycling. This project will provide a pathway for disabled riders from local to elite level, funding accessible environments for disabled riders across British Cycling’s 2,000 registered clubs. British Cycling said Shell will also help support BC’s transition to an electric fleet of vehicles.
But the announcement was quickly met with widespread criticism, with many raising issues with the environmental impacts caused by Shell’s work in fossil fuels.
Greenpeace UK described the partnership as ‘brazen greenwash’. “The idea of Shell helping British Cycling reach net zero is as absurd as beef farmers advising lettuce farmers on how to go vegan,” said policy director Dr Doug Parr.
“After being booted out of museums and other cultural institutions, Big Oil are looking at sports as the next frontier for their brazen greenwash. But their aim hasn’t changed – to distract from the inconvenient fact that the fossil fuel industry is making our planet uninhabitable. British Cycling missed an opportunity to tell the oil giant the one thing they needed to hear: on your bike, Shell.”
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BikeBiz has approached British Cycling for comment.