Showing the World Cup the red card

23 June 2014

The World Cup kicked off in Brazil this month, amidst protests across the country against the high cost of the stadiums, corruption, police brutality and forced evictions. Friends of the Earth Flanders and Brussels (Climaxi) is marking the World Cup with a public vote for the worst corporate sponsors of the tournament. The World Cup Greenwash award aims to expose greenwashing in the run-up to, and during, the tournament.

The candidates for the World Cup Greenwash award are:

  • Coca-Cola: for their terrible environmental and labour rights record, and their use of indigenous people in advertising around the World Cup – despite the negative social and environmental impacts of sugar production for their products on indigenous peoples in Brazil.
  • Adidas: for their poor workers' rights record, and for implications in sweatshop labour and anti-union practices during the production stages of their products.
  • McDonald's: for their negative impacts on the environment, human health and workers' rights, including the use of livestock fed on soya imported from Latin America – one of the biggest causes of deforestation on the continent.

Voting takes place online and the winner will be announced in the week of the final.

The award aims to highlight the hypocrisy and negative environmental and social impacts of the big brands sponsoring the World Cup, and expresses solidarity with the environmental, social and trade union movements, including Friends of the Earth Brazil, who oppose Brazil's decision to host the World Cup alongside indigenous peoples, landless farmers and workers.

Infrastructural developments in preparation for the tournament have been linked to allegations of human rights abuses, including forced displacements and evictions, forced labour, child labour, discrimination, a lack of consultation with affected communities, and violent repression of often peaceful protesters.

Other corporate sponsors of the tournament include oil, car and tyre manufacturers, large pharmaceutical companies, and airline companies. Big brands are attempting to use their sponsorship of the World Cup to distract attention from their anti-social and environmentally damaging practices.

Vote, and show greenwashing the red card.