Rhinegold Photo credit: Belinda Lawley

Melissa Bradshaw

Partnership between Shell and Southbank Centre to end

10:31, 13th March 2020

The relationship between oil and gas giant Shell and the Southbank Centre and British Film Institute (BFI) will come to an end this year, both institutions have confirmed.

While the institutions have said that the decision not to renew the partnership was taken by Shell, the news follows growing pressure from staff and campaigners to cut ties with the fossil fuel company in the face of the growing climate crisis.

Last year, the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Edinburgh Science Festival and National Galleries Scotland all ended financial relationships with fossil fuel companies. This latest news from Southbank Centre and BFI means that the entire South Bank area, where Shell’s headquarters are also located, will be free of oil sponsorship.

The end of Shell’s association with the two institutions was welcomed by tenor Mark Padmore, who will perform at the Royal Festival Hall this October. He comments: ‘Today, more than ever, we all need to examine our way of life and the implications of our actions, as we respond to the growing climate emergency. Making beautiful music does not excuse us from seeking to understand how our work is funded and asking questions about the kind of unsustainable business those partnerships might promote.’

Arts organisations such as the British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Science Museum Group and Royal Opera House continue to come under pressure from protestors, staff, artists and their own trustees to end high-profile oil sponsorship deals. Chris Garrard, co-director of campaigning organisation Culture Unstained, said: ‘Until it commits to leaving fossil fuels in the ground this decade, Shell will be standing in the way of the zero carbon transition we urgently need and should not be welcomed into our arts institutions.’

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