This is a topic I have been pondering since Wonderlab (The Statoil Gallery) opened at The Science Museum. Spurred on by Techniquest 30th Birthday this week I’m trying to work out who organisations should seek sponsorship and funding from?
Funding is a vital resource for charitable organisations and its becoming harder to find as the worlds financial situation stays like it is. Should organisations be selective or just grateful for any money? The Science Museum is very happy to strike up a sponsorship deal with Statoil, the world’s eleventh largest oil and gas company (Forbes 2013). I feel like the general consensus among science folk these days is that global warming is happening and is made worse by the use of fossil fuels. So should we be linking oil and gas companies with STEM Education and Engagement in kids minds? Even if we think thats fine, a quick look at Statoil’s Wikipedia page highlights one case of “corruption” and five “controversies”. Granted, my view of what makes an organisation evil might have quite a low threshold but Statoil don’t seem to be the good guys of the world. Dr Chris and the Progressive Science Institute seem to agree.
When I was in University, my personal tutor would always talk about how we must consider the ethical impact of our work. If you work for an arms company, you’re kind of a little bit responsible for the people killed by the companies products. Clearly it would be ludicrous to say if you collaborate with an oil and gas giant you’re kind of a little bit responsible for the slow progress made in renewable energies. Wouldn’t it…
Private organisations seem to dodge the “bad guys” when securing funding and sponsorship. The Cardiff Devils for example, who in my humble opinion have an awesome sponsorship brochure and packages, seem to have “good guy” sponsors. The worst they do is promote gambling and drinking, and they’re socially accepted vices (if they even fall into the vice category).
Lets stop saying yes to things we don’t fully believe in, lets start being those people who consider the wider impact.
Until next time, If you think my outlook on ethics is fantastic then, Hire Me?