The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) has embarked on a campaign to persuade the Government and cultural institutions to reject money from oil and gas companies that use sponsorship as a way to launder their reputations and mask their environmentally destructive nature.

In a published letter to The Guardian, CIWEM calls for the arts to be cleansed of the oil stains from such sponsorship. And in further letters to both Tate Director, Sir Nick Serota, and to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, Jeremy Hunt MP, CIWEM has called for a halt to the tyranny of oil patronage, particularly condemning BP’s sponsorship of the Tate galleries. The Institution is asking how this country’s most revered arts establishments can continue to allow themselves to be supported by those with such terrible legacies of environmental, social and economic damage.

CIWEM deplores the continuing acceptance of guilt monies and influence from the petro-carbon industries, as this sullies the arts, and undermines our cultural institutions. At times of economic recession, there are debates about replacement funding for the arts, but crimes against the environment are crimes against humanity.

Oil money is an expedient too far.

As the world and indeed Tate have learned to flourish without support from slavery, tobacco and alcohol, we and they must learn to emerge from the culture of fossil fuels and the insidious oil industry. BP, Shell and all other petro-chemical corporations must be denied control of our arts and cultural institutions, right now.

Nick Reeves, CIWEM’s Executive Director, says: "Art is the highest form of human expression and has the power to alter human behaviour. Public arts institutions have a duty of care - that cuts across all other considerations - to ensure that they promote positive messages on the environment and avoid partnerships that undermine the credibility of those messages."

“Our letters call on the Trustees and Director of Tate to put a halt to the tyranny of oil patronage and we further call on the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, to use his powers as the responsible minister to ensure this happens.”

CIWEM’s call to cleanse the oil stains from art was published in The Guardian on Monday 28th June.

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) is an independent professional body and a registered charity, advancing the science and practice of water and environmental management for a clean, green and sustainable world, www.ciwem.org

CIWEM’s Art and Environment Network (AEN) aims to put creativity at the heart of environmental management, policy and practice. Members of the AEN represent august and respected cultural institutions, universities and agencies entrusted to care for the environment. More information can be found at www.ciwem.org/arts.

Source: CIWEM