COP28, the climate change conference taking place in Dubai this year, is asking brands for millions of pounds to sponsor the event, promising that they will “benefit from access and unrivalled networking opportunities with governments and global business leaders”.
The most expensive sponsorship package on offer costs £6.5m and provides the paying company with a “speaking opportunity in the COP28 UAE presidency events” and “partner recognition on the trophy wall” among other benefits, according to documents seen by Sky News.
In total, the climate conference is asking for in excess of £25m from companies to take advantage of its sponsorship packages, the documents show.
A senior corporate executive told Sky News: “A COP isn’t an event to make money. We are here to save the planet and minimise climate change, not to milk sponsorship opportunities.
“It belittles the entire event and people lose trust in the entire process.”
Sponsorship prices have almost tripled since COP27 in Cairo last year, according to the executive, who has direct knowledge of the rates, reflecting the increasing commercialisation of the United Nations summit.
Hosted by the United Arab Emirates, this year’s event is already embroiled in controversy after reportedly hiring a former Boris Johnson aide who opposed an oil and gas tax, selecting senior oil industry executive Sultan al Jaber as its president, and inviting Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad, who is accused of crimes against humanity.
Every year, almost 200 countries meet to discuss how to jointly tackle the climate crisis and its impacts. Thousands of observers, civil society groups and media attend too.
COP stands for Conference of the Parties, referring to governments that have signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Sponsors at last year’s event included Microsoft and Coca-Cola, the company named the world’s largest plastics polluter in the 2022 Break Free From Plastic’s global brand audit.
Sky sponsored COP26 in Glasgow in 2021.
Executives given chance to mingle with government officials
A petition calling on the organisers of the climate summit to stop seeking corporate sponsorship received nearly a quarter of a million signatures.
Brands which spent more than £3m on sponsorship at this year’s event will also receive accreditation for their executives to attend the talks and mingle with government officials.
The so-called Industry Partner package, which offers companies “an unparalleled opportunity to become a vital part of this important event for leading names in respective industries” and costs £3.2m, comes with five passes to the event.
Meanwhile, the Principal Partner package, which costs more than £6m, offers 25 UN-accredited passes for company executives to attend the talks.
The organisers of COP28 promise that the event’s principal sponsor will receive “privileged access” to the Blue Zone, the area reserved for world leaders, country negotiators, and NGOs (non-governmental organisations).
Also on offer is the chance to host a reception and an event, a perk not available to any of the lower tier sponsors.
Brands which partner with the event will also have the opportunity to display “presentations and activities featuring accomplishments across all areas of business” while “participants will be inspired to act on environmental issues that are increasingly impacting us today”.
They will also “receive an array of benefits that showcase their market presence,” according to the documents.
When contacted by Sky News, the UN said sponsorship for COP28 was handled by the host country and directed press questions to the UAE.
Sky News has approached the UAE for comment.
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This story originally appeared on Skynews