ASH slams BAT cash for ‘ethics’



Monday 04 December 2000

Press release

For immediate release, 4 December 2000

ASH slams BAT cash for ‘Ethics’

Health campaigners are outraged at Nottingham University’s controversial decision to take sponsorship from British American Tobacco for Britain’s first International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility. The tobacco giant,which is currently under investigation by the Department of Trade and Industry for its role in ‘aiding and abetting’ tobacco smuggling, has promised £3.8m over three years to fund staff and students as they study the social and environmental responsibilities of multinational companies.

Chair of Students for Action on Smoking and Health (SASH), Patrick Mackerras, said:“I’m outraged that a university with a strict no-smoking policy could be so naive. Although, the University’s logic may have been bought by BAT’s money, I don’t think they have anticipated the pay off of taking tobacco industry money.Students have a choice of where to study and I don’t see many people wanting to study at a university that is prepared to embarrass itself in public like this. Students and scholars alike have to be asking, What sort of course will it be and what will I learn? Will the curriculum include courses on, ‘How to lie to the British public for over 40 years’ or ‘How to handle having your head office raided by the Department of Trade and Industry’?”

Mackerras added: “The decision to take this money from a company that is being investigated by various governments and faces lawsuits by the dozen makes Nottingham University look very silly and questions its own ethical judgement.”

Karl Brookes, of the health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said:”It’s clearly cash for ethics. BAT’s products kill hundreds of thousands of people a year and internationally, it’s accused of racketeering and is being sued by several governments for a vast array of misdemeanours. I just can’t see how this corporate behaviour makes a university think that this is an acceptable sponsor for a school of ethics.”

 

Contact: Patrick Mackerras, Chair of ASH: 07989 88 8971 (m) email: alan.mackerras@christ-church.oxford.ac.uk

 Karl Brookes, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH): 020 7739 5902, 0589504040 (m)

ISDN For Radio Interviews: 020 7729 1047 (please ring 020 7739 5902 first to arrange an interview time)