Extinction Rebellion

Santos Out of Sport: XR Brisbane

Santos Out of Sport: XR Brisbane

By Extinction Rebellion Australia, on 9 April 2022

Fossil fuel companies are washing their brands through sport, as Tobacco did it for a generation, with Formula One and AFL.

As awareness grows of the role fossil fuel companies play in the climate crisis, companies like South Australian oil and gas company Santos are eager to shore up their reputations by drawing on the enormous positive energy created by sport.

Members of Extinction Rebellion Brisbane attended the Queensland Reds v Brumbies rugby union match at the SUNCORP stadium to send a message that we support sport but we don’t support the sponsorship of Santos. Santos promotes natural gas as a clean, green product although it is contributing to unnatural disasters and the destruction of our planet. 

rebels talk to sports fans at SUNCORP stadium

Santos sponsors several other state and national rugby teams, including the Australian national rugby team the Wallabies, New South Wales Waratahs, Western Force (WA) and the Australian Women’s Sevens national team.

Apart from rugby, Santos is the naming rights sponsor of the Tour Down Under men’s professional cycling race through the streets of Adelaide and regional South Australia.

Santos influence also spreads to a very local level, with sponsorship of the Aboriginal Power Cup, Port Adelaide football club’s flagship community program for Indigenous high school students.

Santos is seeking to develop new gas projects in the Beetaloo Basin, Barossa and Narrabri even though the International Energy Agency said last year that limiting global heating to 1.5C, a goal set out in the Paris agreement, meant exploration and exploitation of new fossil fuel basins had to stop in 2021.

Rebels liken Santos greenwashing to Big Tobacco disinformation

Former Wallabies captain David Pocock (quoted in the Guardian) said:

“I really think fossil fuel sponsorship is the new cigarette sponsorship, where they are advertising a product that we now know is destroying our home planet and our futures.”

Tennis Australia appears to have dumped a Santos partnership deal after a campaign targeting the fossil fuel company for “sportswashing”.

XR calls on all sports bodies to recognise that the new generation of sports sponsorships must be in clean and energy and renewables, not in the dying and destructive fossil fuel industries.


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