Thursday, April 6, 2000
Greenpeace condemns 'dirty' Olympic sponsors
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Far from giving the Sydney Olympics a clean report card, Greenpeace has accused multinational companies -- including Coca-Cola and McDonald's -- of being "dirty sponsors."
Both companies had undermined the idea of the "Green Games" by using refrigeration methods containing ozone-depleting hydroflourocarbons, or HFCs, instead of environmentally-friendly alternatives at Olympic venues, Greenpeace spokesman Corin Millais said.
In its report, "Green Olympics, Dirty Sponsors," Greenpeace said Coca-Cola expected to sell more than 11 million drinks during the games from 1,800 refrigerated machines, of which just 100 would be free of HFCs.
McDonald's will operate seven restaurants at the Sept. 15-Oct. 1 games using mostly HFC refrigeration, the report said.
Sydney won the Olympics partially on the strength of its "Green Games" concept, to which Greenpeace was a vital contributor, Millais said.
Olympics organizers joined the two sponsors in refuting the Greenpeace report.
Sydney organizers said the report failed to adequately reflect that McDonald's would be showcasing the latest hydrocarbon refrigeration technology in its restaurants at Olympic venues and that Coca-Cola would be using the games to test similar equipment.
"McDonald's and Coca-Cola have demonstrated this through a range of initiatives which are already under way and (there) will be further evidence throughout the Olympic Games," said SOCOG spokesman Sandy Hollway.
The sponsors are "absolutely committed to a Green Games," he said.
Millais said the companies were ignoring refrigeration alternatives that are available and that the sponsors had known since 1992 about the Olympics' environmental guidelines, which were supposed to cut out the use of HFCs at venues.
McDonald's and Coca-Cola said Greenpeace was telling only half the story.
McDonald's said it had put infrastructure in place to use hydrocarbon refrigeration trials during the games.
"Greenpeace knows that neither the technical nor servicing expertise for the management of commercial application of hydrocarbon refrigeration presently exists in Australia," a McDonald's statement said.
Coca-Cola's South Pacific spokesman Geoff Walsh said the cooling equipment at Olympic sites was a "significant advance" in energy efficiency.
Commercial drink coolers using alternative hydrocarbon refrigerants are not commercially available on a scale required for the Olympics, Walsh said.