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A blueprint for change? : exploring how the London organizing committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG)… Lawson, Shawna 2016

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A BLUEPRINT FOR CHANGE?:  EXPLORING HOW THE LONDON ORGANIZING COMMITTEE OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES (LOCOG) FRAMED OLYMPIC ‘SUSTAINABILITY PARTNER’ BP   by Shawna Lawson  BKin, The University of British Columbia, 2010  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Kinesiology)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)   August, 2016 © Shawna Lawson, 2016 ii  Abstract The London Organizing Committee of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) came under substantial public scrutiny regarding several of its corporate partnerships (Gibson, 2012; Smedley, 2012). Specifically, a number of resistance groups mobilized around LOCOG’s selection of BP (formerly British Petroleum) as a ‘sustainability partner’. In pledging to host the first ‘truly sustainable Games’, this partnership appeared paradoxical to some, as BP has a history marred by environmental degradation and disaster – most notably the Deep Water Horizon oil spill of 2010 (National Commission, 2011; World Wildlife Foundation, 2007; Mattera, 2010). This thesis critically examines how LOCOG framed the BP-LOCOG relationship – focusing specifically on how the Games’ organizing committee promoted certain interpretations of ‘sustainability’ through this partnership. By examining numerous public relations texts produced by LOCOG, I show how the organizing committee framed BP as not only a ‘key partner’, but also as an ‘expert and motivator’ around sustainability – and suggest that the ‘specialty’ designations awarded to BP facilitated these framings. Further, I argue that a number of explicit and underlying assumptions were revealed in LOCOG’s justifications and framing of this partnership. These include: a) collaboration is a key strategy for dealing with environmental problems, b) innovation comes from business and is a key solution to environmental problems, c) growth and sustainability are compatible, and d) ‘the Games must go on’ despite environmental consequences. I then discuss potential problems with these seemingly innocuous assumptions and framings – concentrating especially on how particular responses to environmental problems are presented as the ‘only’ responses. This thesis concludes with reflections on the study’s contributions to the area of sport mega-events and the environment. Particular attention is paid to the value of studying the public relations strategies of Games’ organizing committees, deconstructing the role of partnerships in the framing of a sustainable Olympics, and investigating the way that consensus around particular responses to environmental issues is sought through responsive PR practices.   iii  Preface This thesis is the original, independent and unpublished work by the author, Shawna Lawson.  iv  Table of Contents Abstract ................................................................................................................................ ii Preface ................................................................................................................................. iii Table of Contents ..................................................................................................................iv List of Tables ........................................................................................................................ vii List of Figures ...................................................................................................................... viii List of Abbreviations .............................................................................................................. ix Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................... x Chapter 1: Background and Introduction ............................................................................... 1 1.1 Research Questions ........................................................................................................ 1 1.2 Background ..................................................................................................................... 2 Chapter 2: Literature Review ............................................................................................... 12 2.1 Sustainability to Sustainable Development and Back Again ........................................ 12 2.2 Environmental Sociology: Key Perspectives and Controversies ................................... 16 2.2.1     The Why: Explanations for Environmental Degradation and Destruction............... 17 2.2.2     The How: Ecological Modernization and Environmental Improvement .................. 21 Critiques of ecological modernization .............................................................. 23 2.3 Public Relations ............................................................................................................. 28 2.4 Sociology of Sport: Sport, Mega-Events and the Environment .................................... 32 Chapter 3: Methodology & Method ..................................................................................... 42 3.1        Methodological Framework ......................................................................................... 42 3.2 Method ......................................................................................................................... 45 v  3.2.1  Data Collection ...................................................................................................... 46 3.2.2  Data Analysis ......................................................................................................... 48 3.3 Reflexivity ...................................................................................................................... 51 Chapter 4: Results ............................................................................................................... 53 4.1 LOCOG’s Framing of BP: From Spotlight to Shadow and Back Again ........................... 53 4.1.1 BP as ‘Special’ Partner............................................................................................... 54 4.1.2 BP as Expert .............................................................................................................. 57 4.1.3 BP as Motivator ......................................................................................................... 62 4.1.4 The Changing Frame: BP in the Shadows ................................................................. 65 4.2 Underlying Assumptions ............................................................................................... 69 4.2.1 Collaboration as a Strategy for  Dealing with Environmental Problems .................. 69 4.2.2. Innovation and Technological Development as Key Solutions to Sport Related Environmental Problems ...................................................................................... 72     Innovation comes from business ...................................................................... 75 A certain kind of innovation: Growth and development over reduction ......... 78 4.2.3 Growth and Progress on Environmental Issues are Compatible .............................. 79 4.2.4 The Games Must Go On ............................................................................................ 83 Chapter 5: Discussion .......................................................................................................... 88 5.1 The Trend Continues: Ongoing Prioritization of Sustainable Solutions and Ecological Modernist Principles .................................................................................................... 88 5.2 Wavering on BP: Analyzing PR Over Time and in Context ............................................ 95 5.3 Sustaining what and for whom? Post-political Environmentalism and LOCOG ........... 96 vi  Chapter 6: Conclusion ......................................................................................................... 100 6.1 Contributions .............................................................................................................. 100 6.2 Future Directions ........................................................................................................ 102 References ......................................................................................................................... 108  vii  List of Tables Table 1: Types of ecological modernization ................................................................................. 33 Table 2: List of documents analysed  ............................................................................................ 57      viii  List of Figures Figure 1: Competing functions of the environment. Source: Dunlap, 1993….………………………….29    ix  List of Abbreviations BMW – Bayerische Motoren Werke AG BP – (formerly) British Petroleum BT – BT Group plc EDF – EDF Energy EM – Ecological Modernization IOC – International Olympic Committee IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change LA – Los Angeles LOCOG – London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games NEP – New Ecological Paradigm ODA – The Olympic Delivery Authority PR – Public Relations QDA – Qualitative Document Analysis  SOCOG – Sydney Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games TOP – The Olympic Partners UK – United Kingdom WCED – World Commission on Environment and Development WWF – World Wildlife Foundation    x  Acknowledgements Firstly, I am immensely grateful for the endless supply of support and encouragement from my supervisor and mentor, Dr. Brian Wilson. His enduring wisdom and kindness acted as both a springboard to jump from, and a soft spot to land when things got difficult. I am also thankful for the support of my committee members, Dr. Wendy Frisby and Dr. Robert VanWynsberghe. Early encouragement and caring words from Dr. Frisby reassured me when I needed them the most, and thought-provoking questions from Dr. VanWynsberghe challenged me to think outside the box.  I am indebted to my peers at the University of British Columbia who provided laughter, encouragement and refuge along the way. This debt extends to my closest friend Danielle, who always knew just what to say and when to say it, and was a constant source of humor, kind words and love.  I also wish to thank the many undergraduate students whom I had the privilege of interacting with throughout my graduate degree – your questions and interest in the field reminded me why this work is important. I owe this accomplishment to the steadfast support of my (truly amazing) family, whose belief in my abilities never wavered, even when my own did. Mum and Dad, who stoked my critical and creative imagination from the beginning, and Sara whose humor and unconditional love kept me firmly grounded. Finally, to Greg, who entered my life right in the middle of this wild journey and changed everything – thank you for your patience, unwavering support and monstrous love.    xi       For my mum and her mum 1  Chapter 1: Background and Introduction As the Deep Water Horizon oilrig sunk to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico on Earth Day 2010, few people took notice (National Commission, 2011). By the time the leak was contained some three months later however, the nearly five million barrels of crude oil that had spilled into the waters seemed to bring environmental problems to the surface of public consciousness (Breeze, 2012). The vast damage to surrounding ecosystems and the inability of BP (formerly British Petroleum) to control the spill, led to intense public criticisms of BP, the oil industry, and the American government (National Commission, 2011). Facing substantial damage to their reputation, BP mobilized efforts and resources toward repairing their public image (Walton, Cooley & Nicholson, 2012).  One of these efforts involved mobilizing their sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games – a sponsorship that resulted in BP being awarded the delineation of Sustainability Partner (alongside BMW, BT, Cisco, EDF Energy and General Electric). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) quickly found themselves at the center of public attention and critique because of BP’s track record with respect to sustainability (Gibson, 2012; Smedley, 2012). With ‘sustainability’ as central to its Games preparation and packaging, the Olympic organizers were thus required to justify this seemingly paradoxical partnership with BP. This thesis is about their justification.   Research Questions Specifically, the purpose of this thesis project was to critically examine how LOCOG framed its partnership to BP, and to outline and reflect on the assumptions that underpinned 2  their justifications and frames. Drawing especially on the public relations documents produced by LOCOG, I conducted a study guided by the following research questions: 1. How did LOCOG frame its relationship to Sustainability Partner BP? 2. What were the stated and implicit assumptions (i.e., about how to best deal with sport-related environmental problems) that underpinned LOCOG’s justifications for, and framings of this partnership? My use of the ‘framing’ concept in this context was informed by the work of Robert Entman (1993), who defined the term in the following way:  To frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item described (p. 52).  Hallahan (1999) supports a focus on framing in the examination of public relations (PR) messages and texts, as PR characteristically centers on attempts to “define reality” for the public (p. 206). Put simply then, this project investigated the ways in which LOCOG highlighted certain aspects of their partnership with BP, and downplayed others.   Background  The organizers of the Summer 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London pledged to host the world’s first truly sustainable, low carbon and zero-waste Games (LOCOG, 2011b). For the first time in Olympic history, infrastructure and delivery were separated into two distinct agencies. The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) was responsible for venue construction and infrastructure, and received public funding of roughly $10.5 billion dollars (Rogers, 2012). The Organizing Committee (LOCOG) was responsible for overseeing the planning and 3  development of the Games, or as one spokesperson described it, “the ODA [built] the theater; we put on the show” (Rogers, 2012), and committed to funding their portion through private efforts and sponsorship. Despite raising roughly $4 billion dollars through sponsorship, ticket sales, merchandise and broadcasting revenue, the UK Government still contributed an estimated £1 billion pounds to LOCOG when they found themselves behind budget in 2011 (Magnay, 2012). Despite the unplanned injection of public resources, London organizers were largely praised for raising such significant capital during a global recession. When the United Kingdom officially declared a state of recession in 2009, many questioned whether LOCOG would be able to coax domestic corporations to contribute funds, when they were likely struggling themselves (Economic and Social Research Council, 2009). However, LOCOG succeeded in acquiring roughly $1.17 billion dollars from sponsor revenue. Chairman of the IOC’s Marketing Commission, Gerhard Heiberg wrote, “in the face of difficult economic times, the London 2012 Olympic Games enjoyed one of the most successful marketing programmes in Olympic history” (International Olympic Committee, 2012, p. 18). They did so, at least in part, by establishing unique and exclusive sponsorship designations such as the ‘Sustainability Partners’ program. Of the dozens of corporate sponsors secured for the games, LOCOG specifically selected six as ‘Sustainability Partners’: BMW, BT, Cisco, EDF Energy, GE and BP (LOCOG, 2011b). According to LOCOG’s early sustainability report (2011b), these partners were “looking to inspire a change in sustainable living through their own products and expertise” (p. 97). Each partner was mandated to create an independent sustainability project, collaborate to deliver joint sustainability projects, exchange best practices and contribute to advocacy support 4  (LOCOG, 2011b). In an effort to maintain an appeal of exclusivity, LOCOG limited the program to six companies (LOCOG, 2008b). These companies represented a variety of industries, from communications to oil and gas.  According to LOCOG, companies could participate if they: a) supplied products ‘essential’ for staging the Games; b) were willing to highlight the sustainable benefits of these products; c) focused their promotional activities on sustainability themes, and; d) helped LOCOG achieve its sustainability goals (LOCOG, 2007d; 2009b; 2013a). The partners were to work together, with London 2012, “to inspire a step change in the way sustainability [is/was] perceived and delivered” (LOCOG, 2009b, p. 78). To do so, each partner committed to participate in a collective sustainability venture, develop an individual sustainability project, and exchange best practices where appropriate (LOCOG, 2009b). The partners came together to work toward LOCOG’s specific objectives (LOGOC, 2012e): a) Develop innovative, practical solutions to deliver a more sustainable Games b) Spread the London 2012 sustainability story c) Promote behavioural change d) Ensure sustainability [became] one of the major success stories of London 2012 e) Provide a model for sustainability engagement for future Games and major events With varying degrees of success, these objectives were balanced with the objectives of each corporate partner. In a post games ‘Learning Legacy’ report (LOCOG 2013a, p.3), LOCOG summarized the objectives of their corporate partners into four broad categories:  a) To affect big change: Set a benchmark for sustainability delivery at future Olympic and Paralympic games. To create tremendous momentum for changes in consumer behaviour. b) To drive internal engagement: Inspire employees, commercial partners and customers. Accelerate innovative thinking. Stimulate opportunities around inclusive products, programmes and participation 5  c) To achieve more than the sum of our parts: Learn from each other. Leverage to deliver beyond the capabilities of each individual partner d) To enhance brand value: Promote commercial opportunities in the marketplace. Maximize the value of the investment. Implement and showcase sustainability solutions.   While many of these objectives overlapped with LOCOG’s, in their post-Games Learning Legacy (LOCOG, 2013a) – which reviewed the overall efficacy of the Sustainability Partners designation – the committee reflected on a number of challenges that emerged and affected the overall success of the program. Primarily, the designation lacked a clear definition, leading to confusion amongst stakeholders and the public. For instance, when other Olympic Partners, such as Coca-Cola and Rio-Tinto also chose to highlight their sustainability efforts without being involved in the program, this compounded confusion about who was involved in the program. When it wasn’t clear how or why certain partners were selected over others, this led to an impression that the partnership designation had been bought, not earned (LOCOG, 2013a). This fueled public critique because, despite LOCOG’s apparent commitment to sustainability, some of their selected corporations had connection to environmental degradation, unsustainable practices and ecological disaster. The Learning Legacy also referred to what LOCOG described as ‘the most challenging task’ – which was, to select a suitable joint activation project. Initially, discussions centered on a ‘One Planet Pavilion’ in the Olympic Park, intended to showcase the sustainability programs of all the partners under one roof. The second was ‘A Walk in the Olympic Park’, with six ‘story stations’ throughout the grounds where partners could present their take on the sustainability story of the Games (LOCOG, 2013a). Finally, six beacons were suggested with relative design freedom, and at no extra cost to the partners. In the end, only BP and Cisco agreed to 6  participate in ‘A Walk in the Olympic Park’. All other Sustainability Partners activated their partnership outside of the site through marketing, advertisements and individual projects.  According to LOCOG, another primary challenge was expecting six different companies to dilute their individual brands into a single joint project (LOCOG, 2012e, p. 9). Despite their objective to ‘achieve more than the sum of their parts’, the corporations were not able to transcend their individual brand objectives in order to coalesce around the theme of sustainability (LOCOG, 2012e). Further, LOCOG reflected that many partners were not willing or able to inject the additional capital required for this collective venture, after LOCOG failed to set aside any of the funds earned from the Sustainability Partners for this purpose. Despite these challenges, LOCOG reflected on the designation as an overall success, as it granted them widespread recognition as the most sustainable Games to date (LOCOG, 2012e). The Sustainability Partnership designation was a platform from which they were able to leverage and reiterate their sustainability messaging, and one they saw as a successful program worth repeating at future Games (LOCOG, 2012e). Despite claims of success, public scrutiny around corporate partnerships was a primary source of contention for LOCOG leading up to and during the Games (Gibson, 2012; Tremonti, 2012). Many critiques focused on an apparent disconnect between the stated sustainability priorities of the London Organizing committee and the historically un-sustainable practices of a number of the corporate sponsors they championed, such as DOW, Rio Tinto, Coca-Cola, and BP (Gibson, 2012; Jones, 2012). Public concerns were constructed in alignment with broader waves of critique toward corporations who engage in “greenwashing” techniques (Lubbers, 2002). These techniques involve disingenuous attempts to appearing ‘green’, or present an 7  environmentally friendly public image, without the adoption of practices that match this image (Rowell, 2002). According to some critics, the London Olympics were a premier location for corporate greenwashing, and protest groups mobilized in an effort to draw attention to it (see www.greenwashgold.org).  BP is no stranger to public critique, and has faced major criticisms regarding their pro-social messages about protecting the environment throughout their corporate history. Activists and environmental groups (such as Greenpeace International) have protested, boycotted and challenged BP’s framing of, and proclaimed stance on the environment (Cuff, 2012). As the largest producer of oil and gas in North America, BP has had a high incidence of corporate misconduct and environmental damage (Mattera, 2010).  Since the high profile, devastating explosion of their Deep Water Horizon oil rig and subsequent spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP has fought against an image of environmental mismanagement. The disaster was one of the largest oil spills in history, and resulted in significant social, economic and environmental hardships to the surrounding areas (Mattera, 2010; National Commission, 2011). As a result, BP was issued a $34 billion dollar claim for economic losses and punitive damages brought forth by many of the southern state governments affected by the spill (Macalister, 2013), and has suffered significant damage to its corporate reputation.  Prior to the spill, BP had an interesting and unique history of corporate environmentalism. In 2000, BP spent roughly $200 million dollars to re-brand, and re-identify itself (Frey, 2002). This shift began in 1997, when BP’s CEO Lord John Browne gave a speech at Stanford University, arguing that global warming was a real problem, and that oil companies needed to acknowledge and begin dealing with this reality (Nocera, 2006). Although seemingly 8  straightforward, this speech was a milestone in the oil industry as Browne was the first oil executive to acknowledge climate change. The American Petroleum Institute, of which BP had been a long-standing member, lamented that Browne had “left the church” (Frey, 2002). During the re-branding that followed, the company shortened its name from British Petroleum to BP, and coined the slogan “Beyond Petroleum” (Frey, 2002). The logo was transformed from a rigid shield to the Helios symbol of the Greek sun god. This green, yellow and white sunburst was designed to represent energy in its many forms, and seemed to suggest, alongside BP’s new mantra, that the company was moving beyond oil and gas and toward a (more) eco-friendly future of renewable energy (Frey, 2002). Although this move to acknowledge climate change was seen as corporate bravery by some (Frey, 2002), others saw it as corporate greenwash. Part of BP’s strategy was forming partnerships and coalitions with environmental groups such as the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) (Nocera, 2006). Although beneficial for BP’s environmental image, afterward the WWF reported feeling less positive about the relationship. The senior WWF policy advisor at the time reflected: “they (BP) were open to some small changes, but we were fairly disappointed. Whenever you spoke to them, their view was about deadlines and budgets. Ours was about protecting the environment” (Nocera, 2006). Environmental groups have been rather critical, and at times scathing of BP for their environmental public relations strategies, and a number of protest groups mobilized in response to BP’s involvement in the Games specifically. In an open letter to LOCOG, thirty-four signatories said that the Olympic organizers failed to consider the broader ethical and environmental impacts of their corporate sponsors (Vidal, 2012). Regarding BP, the signatories – which included Greenpeace UK, London mayoral candidate Jenny Jones, Climate Rush, The UK 9  Tar Sands Network – protested the partnership based on BP being “one of the least sustainable companies on earth” (as cited in Vidal, 2012).  LOCOG’s partnership with BP makes an especially interesting case for analysis, not simply because of BP’s disaster in the Gulf of Mexico or connection to Olympic protest. As an environmental ‘leader’ in the oil industry, BP set itself apart as an industry expert on environmental sustainability and has utilized PR extensively to manage their public image. The corporation placed sustainability at the core of its advertising and marketing campaigns, despite a history littered with environmental degradation and a seemingly paradoxical dependence on oil and gas. As New York Times journalist Darcy Frey (2002) put it:  […] while Browne and BP may show greater sensitivity to environmental concerns than  any other company in its industry, it may also be impossible for any company that  derives well over 90 percent of its revenue from fossil fuels to claim to be part of the  solution. Despite its new sunburst logo and “Beyond Petroleum” slogan, BP still invests  $12 billion, or 25 times more on oil and gas, than on its wind and solar division […].   A number of research projects have been conducted regarding BP’s public relations strategies, specifically around crisis relations following the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill. Schutlz, Kleinnijenhuis, Oegema, Utz, and van Atteveldt (2012) analyzed the interplay between BP’s public relations strategies and news media’s framing in the wake of the oil spill, and concluded that BP was successfully able to disassociate itself from being framed as responsible for the cause of the spill, while simultaneously presenting itself as the solution, or solvent to the crisis. By comparing BP’s public relations to new sources throughout the UK and the US, the authors found that the media generally adopted BP’s framing. Harlow, Brantley and Harlow (2011), similarly found that BP’s public relations strategies after the spill were ‘successful’ in 10  deflecting responsibility for the cause, focusing on their compensation of the victims, and framing themselves as the solution to the spill.  While an exhaustive search was done to try and uncover the amount that BP paid to be associated with the Games, this information is not publically available. The Guardian estimated that BP spent approximately $63 million (US) on their Tier 1 partnership (“London 2012 Olympic sponsor”, 2012), and ESPN reported the expenditure at $58 million (US) (“USOC says BP sponsorship”, 2010). The Sustainability Partner’s program was described as a “£15 million project” within the Post-Games Sustainability Report, which would equate to approximately $3.3 million (US) per partner if they each contributed the same amount (LOCOG, 2012e, p. 40). According to the IOC Marketing Report (2012), BP provided fuel and oil for the Games vehicles and catering facilities (including advanced fuel for 40 vehicles), developed two ‘showcases’ in the Olympic park, and helped offset half a million travelers journey’s to the Games. In return, BP was granted the right to use the Olympic Logo in their marketing campaigns, and was provided two sites within the Olympic Park to advertise their association with the Games. Further, each ticket holder was sent a ‘spectator guide’ which included a BP branded luggage tag with information on the BP Target Neutral carbon offset scheme (LOCOG, 2012e).  Appointed Sustainability Partner, Official Oil and Gas partner, Official Carbon Offset Partner and Premier Partner to the Cultural Olympiad, LOCOG formed a significant partnership with BP in the delivery of the ‘most sustainable Games in history’ (LOCOG, 2011b). Although a number of studies have focused on how BP framed itself as a leader in sustainability and how they managed their corporate image after their spill, no such study exists into how LOCOG, or other BP affiliates, promoted BP during this time. Similarly, and while recognizing that Olympic-11  related organizations – like the International Olympic Committee itself – have their own history of environment-related public relations work (see upcoming literature review), the particular details and broader lessons that might be drawn from a study of this LOCOG-BP partnership have not been pursued. In the next chapter, I offer an overview of key literatures pertaining these topics as a way of providing context for the study I conducted on how LOCOG promoted and positioned BP before, throughout and following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  12  Chapter 2: Literature Review  The literature pertinent to this study includes key works in the areas of environmental sociology and sociocultural sport studies that explore: (a) how powerful groups have approached and responded to environment-related concerns; and (b) how those studying sport have understood these issues. I specifically locate this study within scholarship on sport mega-events and the environment, identifying gaps in the literature concerning the public relations (PR) strategies of event organizers. In doing so, I aim to highlight the significance of the study conducted for this thesis as it pertains to the sociology of sport and more broadly. I will demonstrate that investigating LOCOG’s partnership with BP – with an emphasis on how LOCOG framed this relationship – is important, not only as a way to explore key contemporary issues concerning sport mega-events and the environment, but also as a way of considering how public relations strategies are mobilized to make controversial sport related issues, such as a sport mega-events impact on the environment, appear less uncontroversial.  Sustainability to Sustainable Development and Back Again  Within the scientific community, there remains little doubt that climate change poses a significant threat to the natural environment, and many see this as the most pressing issue of our time (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2014; Jasanoff, 2010; Swyngedouw, 2007; 2010). Despite widespread awareness of the ways this is a human-triggered problem, sea levels and greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, our oceans and atmosphere continue to warm, and the intensity and frequency of natural disasters increases (IPCC, 2014). While some incremental changes to environmental policies and individual behaviors have taken place, fundamental challenges to the root causes of environmental damage (e.g. dominant methods 13  of production and consumption) have not, nor have projections of climate change slowed (IPCC, 2014). Scholars and environmentalists have poured over the apparent disconnect between widespread acknowledgement regarding the implications of global warming, and a lack of fundamental change to existing social, political and economic systems (Boycoff, 2007; Jasanoff, 2010; Robinson, 2004). At the core of this challenge are widely shared, extremely emotive, and yet often fundamentally conflicting understandings of the climate problem (Levy & Spicer, 2013). While some, for example, argue that climate change is heavily exaggerated or even fictitious, others warn against the impending eco-apocalypse and look for salvation in a ‘pre-industrial’ way of life. When it comes to perspectives on climate change, however, not all are created equal. The term ‘sustainability’ has been popularized as an optimistic approach to environmental problems, desired future state, and the ultimate global priority. Over time, the term has become so widely used and diversely applied, that it has become ambiguous. Many argue that sustainability has been coopted by those with market interests, and is now synonymous with a fundamentally market-friendly approach to environmentalism, known as sustainable development (Connelly, 2007; Davison, 2008).  The most commonly referred to definition of sustainable development comes from the Our Common Future report, published by the World Commission of Environment and Development (1987). Later known simply as the Brundtland Report, after Commission Chair Gro Harlem Brundtland, this report was significant as it brought socio-political development under the umbrella of sustainability. According to the report, “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future 14  generations to meet their own needs” (WCED, 1987). This definition contained two key concepts according to its creators: 1. The concept of 'needs', in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and  2. The idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs (WCED, 1987).  Simply put, according to this report, concerns over socio-economic disparity and environmental degradation could, and should, be addressed simultaneously. Although this concept originated with the goal of alleviating global poverty, it was taken up vigorously by corporations and governments and later represented as ‘the triple bottom line’ (Elkington, 1994). Responsible organizations looking to flourish within this new environmental public consciousness would need to consider all three pillars of sustainability – ‘social, environmental and economic’ or ‘people, planet and profit’. In other words, ‘sustainable’ organizations could and should pursue economic growth, social good and environmental stewardship simultaneously.  For decades prior, however, debates had taken place about whether and how economic development and environmental protection could take place together (Berger, Flynn, Hines & Johns, 2001). Before sustainable development, those who prioritized economic growth often saw environmental protection as something that could stall, or potentially derail growth. For example, as public concerns over environmental problems rose in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, newly established ‘environmental’ government departments (such as the Environmental Protection Agency in the US) brought in ‘end of pipe’ solutions to appease environmentalists (Berger et al., 2001). These strategies involved scrubbing, filtering or diverting pollutants at the end of production process, with minimal or no changes to production practices themselves. 15  With sustainable development as a goal, however, many industries shifted away from end-of-pipe solutions toward more anticipatory and precautionary solutions that included waste reduction practices and a prioritization of resource efficiency (Berger et al., 2001).  While some saw the widespread adoption of sustainable development as a win for environmentalism, others held that environmental longevity could only come from significant and fundamental social reform and restructuring (Berger et al., 2001; Hajer, 1996). Deep-green ecologists and eco-sociologists such as John Bellamy Foster (2012) have been critical of this model for disregarding contradictions between notions of capitalism and environmental sustainability. In this model, environmental concerns can be mediated, without moving away from the pursuit of continued growth and development. This ‘win-win’ approach, as Levy and Spicer (2013) point out, is highly attractive to industry and governments mandated to prioritize economic prosperity, as it is soothing for environmentally concerned citizens while still being profitable. However, as I discuss below, it less satisfactory for environmentalists who see the environment as fundamentally more important that capitalism, and highlight the problematic way that sustainable development plays out in practice.  In sum then, despite, and perhaps because sustainable development lacks a concrete definition, it became widely adopted, interpreted and applied to multiple sectors and policies within Western industrialized countries (Robinson, 2004). While sustainable development and sustainability have been widely well received for their optimistic approach, they have been critiqued for similar reasons. Davidson (2008), for example argued that the elastic nature of these terms have led to a synthesis of fundamentally diverse interests, values and facts. Environmental sociologists concerned with these and related developments have devised 16  theories for understanding the way societies and corporations interact with – and frame their interactions with – the natural environment, and the ways that Western capitalist societies have framed ecological issues and perpetuated environmental degradation (Hannigan, 2006).  Environmental Sociology: Key Perspectives and Controversies Environmental sociologists and geographers like Hannigan (2014), Schnaiberg and Gould (2000) and Mol (1999; 2000; 2010) have focused their attention on relationships between society, modernization and the physical environment, and created various (and sometimes conflicting) approaches to understanding various responses to environmental problems. This area of scholarship emerged in the early 1970’s, in response to growing public concern over environmental issues, triggered in part by Rachel Carson’s influential book Silent Spring (1962) and the inaugural Earth Day in 1970. Carson was among the first to question the pervasive use of pesticides (specifically DDT) at the time, and her book ignited widespread concern over the long-term impacts of human behavior on the natural world. Following closely behind, the first Earth Day also sparked a significant increase in public awareness, and laid “symbolic claim to be ‘day one’ of the new environmentalism” (Gottlieb, 1993 as cited in Hannigan, 2014, p.18). According to Hannigan (2014), sociologists at the time were left without an established framework to help make sense of these ecological issues, their human causes, or this new social movement.  The field of environmental sociology emerged to address this new phenomenon, and developed in two distinct phases (Buttel, 2003; Hannigan, 2014). Initially, the central task was to identify factor(s) that created “an enduring crisis of environmental degradation and destruction” (Hannigan, 2014, p. 28). The second and more recent phase has culminated 17  around establishing the most effective or appropriate mode of environmental reform, or how to chart a path toward a more environmentally friendly future. Both phases of environmental sociology offer powerful, although competing theoretical frameworks that help scholars make sense of markedly different understandings of, and responses to environmental problems.   2.2.1 The Why: Explanations for Environmental Degradation and Destruction  By critiquing of what they saw as an overly anthropocentric or human-centered sociological field, Dunlap and Catton (1978, 1979) became crucial figures in shaping environmental sociology during the early years. Most notably, they critiqued the field of sociology for adhering to what they called a ‘Human Exemptionalism Paradigm’. They argued that the sociological field had struggled to come to grips with environmental problems due to a dogmatic assumption that the “exceptional characteristics of our species (culture, technology, language, elaborate social organization) somehow exempt humans from ecological principles and from environmental influences and constraints” (1979, p. 250). This worldview optimistically upheld that progress could continue without limit. The authors cleft environmental sociology from this line of thinking, making the case for a new theoretical outlook – the ‘New Ecological Paradigm’ (NEP) – a move that was later described as “one great effort to redefine the relationships between human societies and their natural environment” (Spaargaren, Mol, & Buttel, 2000, p. 4). This new paradigm was to take seriously the idea that human development and environmental exploitation had the potential to threaten human survival. Unpinning this paradigm were three key assumptions (Dunlap & Catton, 1978, p. 45): 1. Human beings are but one species among many that are interdependently involved in the biotic communities that shape our social life.  18  2. Intricate linkages of cause and effect and feedback in the web of nature produce many unintended consequences from purposive human action. 3. The world is finite, so there are potent physical and biological limits constraining economic growth, social progress, and other societal phenomena.  Put simply, it established the groundwork for environmental sociology by recognizing that the earth had finite resources, and the natural environment could impose constraints on human activity.   The authors went on to model the basis of ecological destruction in what they called the ‘three competing functions of the environment’. They argued that humans used the environment as a supply depot, living space and waste repository – and that over-development of one, or all of these functions leads to environmental hardship. When used as a supply depot, the earth functions as a resource pool to be drawn from, leading to resource shortages and scarcity (Hannigan, 2014). As a living space, the environment is used for shelter and transportation, and if overused, leads to overcrowding, congestion, and the destruction of habitat for other species. Finally, when used as a waste repository, the environment becomes a bin for trash and pollution, and exceeding the earth’s capacity to absorb these wastes results in toxicity and pollution (Dunlap & Catton, 2002). Importantly, the authors argued that these functions continually competed for space; using an ecosystem for one function inhibits the ability of the others to function. For example, using the earth as a waste repository could make it uninhabitable as a living space (Hannigan, 2014). According to Hannigan (2014), this model is increasingly relevant as it may help to explain how global warming can be seen as a result all three of these functions being pursued simultaneously (see figure 1). Figure 1: Figure 1 has been removed due to copyright restrictions. It was a diagram comparing the global carrying capacity of the earth in 1990 and under the ‘current situation’. Original 19  source: Dunlap, R.E. (1993). From environmental to ecological problems. In C. Calhoun, and G. Ritzer (Eds.), Social problems (p. 17), New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Despite the important contribution by Dunlap and Catton, this model has been critiqued for focusing too much on nature and not enough on the social or cultural (Hannigan, 2014). Specifically, their model has been critiqued for failing to link these competing functions of the environment and their associated negative environment outcome to socio-political causes and outcomes. For instance, different political groups and social classes have different opportunities to draw on these functions, and disproportionately suffer the effects of the resulting degradation. While the elite often benefit from the development of urban living spaces, marginalized groups disproportionately suffer from the associated pollution and waste disposal. The work of Allan Schnaiberg and others have helped fill this gap.  Alan Schnaiberg’s book The Environment: From Surplus to Scarcity (1980) introduced the metaphor of the ‘treadmill of production’ to describe the relationship between modern industrial society and environmental degradation. Observing the rapid increase of environmental degradation that occurred in the United States after World War II, Schnaiberg described a process whereby governments created policies and mandates aimed at encouraging further growth and expansion. This led to a particular situation where investment in technologies for production by many businesses required further investment – to justify and support the initial investment (Gould, Pellow & Schnaiberg, 2008; Hannigan, 2014). In this way, the ongoing cycle of investment, production, profit, and reinvestment – always driven by the unheeding need for further production and expansion, to support the sunken costs of technological investments especially  – left little room for ‘economic slowdown’ responses to 20  environmental concerns. This theoretical framework is a powerful tool that has aided scholars intent on exploring the relationship between economic expansion and environmental devastation in modern industrial societies, and the paradoxical and contradictory responses to environmental problems often presented by government and corporate institutions. It has been hailed as “the single most important sociological concept and theory to have emerged within North American environmental sociology” (Buttel, 2004, p. 323) Elaborating on his arguments, Schnaiberg explained that as capital increased during the post-war period, investment allocation changed and traditional production labour was replaced with new, more profitable technologies (Gould, Pellow & Schnaiberg, 2008). However, these technologies placed increased demands on natural resources, as they required more energy, chemicals and materials to sustain production. Advertising was used to drive consumer demand, thereby increasing profit along with production and consumption. The ‘treadmill’ reflected a ‘self-reinforcing’ process whereby government policies aimed at supporting economic growth and encouraging consumption produced further environmental damage (Millington & Wilson, 2013).  Importantly, this framework shed light on the tension that can arise when governments are simultaneously tasked with supporting environmental protection and encouraging unwavering economic profit. Described as ‘environmental managerialism’, Redcliff (1986) drew upon Schnaiberg to highlight how governments tasked with balancing this tension have tended to legislate “a limited degree of [environmental] protection sufficient to deflect criticism but not enough to derail the engine of growth” (Hannigan, 2014, p. 34). In other words, meaningful environmental protection that requires a slowing of resource extraction is often subsidiary to 21  the maintenance of capital growth. The movement toward sustainable development is strongly reflective of those who believe that a balance between environmental protection and economic growth is both possible and necessary. Some scholars interested in theorizing how this balance might be reached have developed and relied on the theory of ecological modernization.  2.2.2 The How: Ecological Modernization and Environmental Improvement  The theory of ecological modernization (EM) has become prominent as both a theoretical framework and ideological perspective (Blowers, 1997; Christoff, 1996; Mol & Spaargaren, 2000), and as the most acceptable way of ‘talking green’ in environmental policy discourse (Christoff, 1996; Davidson, 2008; Hajer, 1995). EM attempts to address the challenges of implementing and integrating sustainability within a capitalistic framework by promoting environmental protection and policy for its positive impact on economic efficiency and technological innovation (Mol, Sonnenfeld & Spaargaren, 2009). Similar to the promises of sustainable development, EM asserts that “economic growth and the resolution of ecological problems can, in principle, be reconciled” (Hajer, 1996, p. 248).   Although the meaning of EM varies according to context and author (similar to the concepts of sustainability and sustainable development), a number of key distinguishing features exist (Berger et al., 2001; Christoff, 1996; Mol & Spaargaren, 2000). Firstly, EM champions and relies upon technological developments with positive environmental outcomes (Berger et al., 2001). From this perspective, maintaining and improving market competitiveness is central, and technological developments that improve resource efficiencies are celebrated for their cost-minimizing benefits (Christoff, 1996). Accordingly, these eco-efficiencies, or successful combinations of ecology and economy, can be achieved within the framework of 22  continuous capitalist modernization. As one of the first proponents of EM, Joseph Huber asserted that “the way out of the ecological crisis seems only possible by going further into the process of industrialization” (cited in Spaargaren & Mol, 1992. p.14). In other words, within an EM framework, environmental problems thought to emerge from the processes of modernization can be resolved through heightened forms of modernization.  From this perspective, environmental protection is seen as good for business. Dryzek (2005) emphasizes that “the key to EM is that there’s money in it for business. Thus business has every incentive to embrace rather than resist EM” (p. 167). EM emphasizes building anticipatory mechanisms into production processes in order to reduce the economic costs of pollution. According to Hajer (1995), EM “utilizes the language of business and conceptualizes environmental pollution as a matter of inefficiency, while operating within the boundaries of cost-effectiveness and administrative efficiency” (p. 35). The role of the state here is complimentary (Oelofse, Scott, Oelofse & Houton, 2008). EM favors environmental policy that centers on self-regulation, is decentralized, involves consensual negotiation and relies on market mechanisms and instruments (Berger et al., 2001; Mol, 1999). Here, consumers and suppliers become key players in environmental reform, dictating demands for, and production of, more ‘clean’ or ‘green’ products and practices (Christoff, 1996). While some scholars argue that EM offers an improved or more advanced framework than sustainable development (Dryzek, 2005), the two concepts are very similar. As outlined by Wilson (2012a), “critiques of sustainable development as a concept commonly adopted/distorted to promote economic development (at the expense of the environment) are akin to criticisms frequently aimed at EM” (p. 93). 23   Critiques of ecological modernization While EM arguably offers an optimistic strategy for dealing with environmental problems, a number of key critiques have emerged. Christoff (1996), for example, made a case that fundamentally different perspectives existed within the EM framework, and described them as ‘strong and weak’ versions of EM. He provided a framework for considering the “normative dimensions of [these] different versions” (p. 490). Placing these approaches along a continuum, Christoff cautioned that strong and weak EM were not necessarily “mutually exclusive binary opposites”, but instead, fall along a continuum of approaches (1996, p. 491). A summary of their characteristics can be found in Table 1. Weak ecological modernization Strong ecological modernization Economistic Ecological Technological (narrow) Institutional/ systemic (broad) Instrumental Communicative Technocratic/ neo-corporatist/ closed Deliberative/ democratic/ open National International Unitary (hegemonic) Diversifying Table 1: Types of ecological modernization Weak EM, according to Christoff (1996), problematically reduces the environment to economic terms, in language use and practice. When discussed or conceptualized as a system of inputs, energy efficiency, waste management and emission reductions, this approach implies that the environment can be reduced to, and measured in, monetary terms (e.g. as financial cost savings) (Berger et al., 2001). This perspective is irreconcilable with non-anthropocentric views that consider the nature to have its own intrinsic worth, leading to the marginalization or dismissal of these more ‘radical’ views (Christoff, 1996). Considerations of the integrated and 24  complex nature of ecosystems and the impact of industrialization on these systems are limited and peripheral within weak versions of EM (Christoff, 1996).   Christoff (1996), and others like Homer-Dixon (2000), are implicitly and explicitly critical of EM (both weak and strong forms) because of the approach’s emphasis and reliance on technological solutions to environmental problems. In his book The Ingenuity Gap, Homer-Dixon (2000) warns that the complex nature of the problems faced (and created) by industrial society is outpacing our ability to deal with them. He suggests that there is an increasing ingenuity gap, in which technology, creativity and innovation are not sufficient to tackle the increasing challenges associated with unbridled progress and modernity. EM espouses this optimistic faith in society’s ability to transform itself in response to these risks and effects, through institutional reform and/or technological advances (Himley, 2008). According to Christoff (1996), stronger versions of EM reject this narrow faith in technology to consider broad ranging and systematic changes to current institutional structures and economic systems.    Christoff (1996) also criticizes weak versions of EM for a tendency to focus on changes within industrialized nations, without consideration of the global environmental impacts of domestic consumption, resource extraction and manufacturing processes on ‘less developed’ nations. Those adhering to this perspective offer strategies that further privilege developed nations, resulting in systems that displace damaging effects and impacts to less developed nations, while increasing the gap between ‘developed’ and non ‘developed’ nation-states (Dryzek, 2005). Stronger versions of EM are more likely to recognize the interrelated nature of global environmental systems and aim to address these on an international scale (Christoff, 1996; Dryzek, 2005). 25   Of particular significance to this thesis is Christoff’s (1996) critique of weak versions of EM as “rhetorical device[s] seeking to manage radical dissent and secure legitimacy for existing policy while delivering limited, economically acceptable environmental improvement” (p. 488). With substantial stakes in maintaining ‘business as usual’, those with power and influence may present weak versions of EM as the only solution to environmental problems. In contrast, strong versions of EM to which Christoff (1996) refers, stress more deliberative, democratic and open processes of change. Here, emphasis is placed on the ways in which civic engagement and democratic participation can be transformative (Robinson, 2004), although in practice, this too may be lip service.   Finally, Christoff (1996) offers a critique of those who adopt weak EM who tend to ignore and/or deny that multiple approaches to environmental sustainability exist. Strategies offered by non-Western societies are often dismissed, espousing a simplistic division between ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ societies (Berger et al., 2001). This unitary path to environmental sustainability posits EM “as the next necessary or even triumphant stage of an evolutionary process of industrial transformation – a stage dependent on the hegemony of western science, technology and consumer culture and propagated by leading Western(ized) countries” (Christoff, 1996, p. 189). Blündhorn and Welsh (2007) argue that the ‘mainstreaming’ of environmental discourse through EM is problematic as it may serve to blunt the transformative elements of strong environmental movements and eco-political thought. When consumer capitalism and ecological sustainability are packaged as interdependent and compatible, counter-intuitive lines of inquiry and approaches to sustainability and policy development may be excluded (Blühdorn & Welsh, 2007; Millington & Wilson, 2013).  26   Hannigan (2014), among others (Berger et a., 2001; Wilson, 2012a; Wilson, 2012b), have critiqued both versions of EM for failing to consider issues of power and influence. Remaining optimistic about the ability of liberal markets, corporate cultural shifts and citizen pressure toward ‘green capitalism, McCarthy and Prudham (2004) argue that EM is “suspiciously coterminous with the self-regulation and neo-corporatism characteristic of neoliberalism more broadly” (McCarthy & Prudham, 2004, p. 280). Although, as outlined by Wilson (2012a), EM is not the same as neoliberalism, weaker versions of EM tend to champion neoliberal ideals such as economic liberalization, open markets, deregulation and privatization. This market-driven approach to environmentalism is problematic in that it may facilitate the commodification of nature and natural resources (in carbon offsetting, for example), and encourage self-regulation by industry elites whose capital interests foreground environmental safekeeping. While organizations, corporations and governments may not recognize themselves as ‘ecological modernists’, nor call their approach by this name, the characteristics of EM are often consistent with the discourse and practice of dominant groups. A key concern here, according to critics like Beder (2002), is that societies governed by those intent on balancing economic and environmental concerns are open to forms of exploitation by corporations and others that claim to be doing pro-environment work – but may, in fact, be focusing more ‘greening’ their image than making their practices more environmentally-friendly. Sharon Beder’s book Global Spin: The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism (2002) is a key work that picks up on this perspective. Beder directly reveals some of the sophisticated techniques employed by large corporations to “counter gains made by environmentalists, to reshape public opinion and to persuade politicians against increased 27  environmental regulation” (p. 1). Through her highly critical perspective, Beder calls for scholarship aimed at exposing corporate myths and methods of manipulation.  A key debate concerning climate change involves which voices should be foregrounded in environmental debate, or in other words, who should determine the path toward long-term environmental sustainability. As discussed earlier, dominant understandings of – and solutions to – climate change have centered on a ‘technological fix’ narrative. The result has been that scientific and technological experts have tended to monopolize discourse around climate change, and elite groups have increasingly led the charge toward sustainability. Under ecological modernization, corporations are increasingly being championed as experts in sustainable technology, and offered alongside other technocrats as leaders in a sustainable movement. According to Davies and Mullen (2011), a central and problematic assumption of EM is that “technological and economic entrepreneurs are located in the private sector and are the main determinants of social change (p. 799). While this critique applies more directly to Christoff’s (1996) version of weak EM, Hannigan (2014), among others (Berger et al., 2001; Wilson, 2012a; Wilson, 2012b), have critiqued both versions for failing to consider issues of power and influence. Put simply, while strong EM is said to be more democratic, more participatory and less elitist, both have offered corporate elites as experts in managing environmental problems.  Dryzek (2005) conceptualizes this technocratic, or neo-corporatist approach to environmental problems as ‘administrative rationalism’. He describes the concept as a “problem solving discourse which emphasizes the role of the expert rather than the citizen or producer/consumer in social problem solving, and which stresses social relationships of 28  hierarchy rather than equality or competition” (Dryzek, 2005, p. 63). Dryzek (2005) contrasts this with ‘democratic pragmatism’, which is more democratic and open in nature – a “leave it to the people” approach (p.5). While these concepts seem incongruous, Dryzek argues that they are often offered alongside one another (Dryzek, 2005, p. 99). In other words, while governments and organizations primarily rely on technocrats to guide decision-making, they will often consult with community stakeholders to frame these decisions as democratic. Although these concepts are traditionally applied to the state, they are also useful when thinking about the administrative and bureaucratic nature of mega-event delivery – as a number of scholars have critiqued the way that Olympic organizers in particular, frame collaborations between private, public and non-profit groups (e.g., Lenskj, 2000a; 2000b).  This state-corporate-NGO nexus can become problematic when framed in a way that communicates consensus and equality (Lenskj, 2000a; 2000b; Swyngedouw, 2010). Although framed as collective managers of the environment, decision-making tends tend to favor corporate environmentalist priorities at the expense of more ‘dark green’ evaluations (Lenskyj, 2000a; 2000b). As discussed throughout this thesis, this particular form of sustainability centers on economic priorities, technological solutions and anthropocentric views about the relationship between humans and their environment. The interplay between nature and politics is effectively downplayed through such collaborations, and certain forms of environmentalism are framed as universally good (Swyndegouw, 2010).  Public Relations Literature on public relations offers scholars an avenue to investigate such dominant representations. Understood as the process of establishing and/or maintaining beneficial 29  relations between an organization and the publics on whom it depends (Cutlip, Center & Broom, 1995), studies on public relations have historically examined industry best practices and problem solving (L’Etang & Pieczka, 1996). Recently, Edwards (2012) made a call for “paying greater sociological attention to the public relations industry as an important mechanism through which society and culture are formed” (p.438). Although public relations as a process are neither inherently good nor bad (Greenberg, Knight & Westersund, 2011; Hallahan, 1999), it works to generate legitimacy for a particular point of view, and sidelines or negates alternatives. PR is therefore often utilized by corporations and politicians to frame particular interpretations of controversial societal issues and events, and is thus an appropriate target for critical scholarship.  It has become increasingly commonplace for corporations in various sectors to use buzzwords such as ‘sustainability’, ‘green’, ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘sustainable development’ when describing their policies and practices. It is of no surprise that public relations professionals have been in high demand as companies look to catch up, keep up, and pull ahead of an  ever-expanding sea of ‘greening’ corporations (Munshi & Kurian, 2005). While pockets of critique have emerged, this corporate cooptation of sustainability has largely fallen on friendly ears (Munshi & Kurian, 2005). That is to say, that despite widespread moves toward what Beder (2002) and others label ‘greenwash’, these public relations campaigns have been rather successful at producing positive images of corporate responsiveness, and have been at times well received by the public, governments and environmental groups.  While some simply see this as a sign that the prevalence of ‘environmentalism’ is growing, others argue that its meaning is also softening and changing as a result (Dauvergne & 30  Lister, 2013). This consent has arguably enhanced the credibility and influence of corporations – which has, in turn, led to a situation where corporate leaders have become highly influential when it comes to defining what ‘sustainability’ is, and what it looks like. While troubling on its own, this becomes increasingly disconcerting when it translates into real social and environmental consequences. Following the lead of Munshi and Kurian (2005), it therefore becomes essential to question the role of public relations in “the creation and maintenance of global corporate practices that have profound social and environmental consequences” (p. 514). To do so, the authors argue, we must first unequivocally recognize corporations as powerful and unique entities whose principal and primary objective is to make money. This places the ‘greening’ efforts of these organizations on a ‘platform of insincerity’, meaning that there is a fundamental level of deceit present when companies claim to prioritize anything (i.e. ecological pursuits) over economic growth (Munshi & Kurian, 2005).  Edwards (2012) recently described public relations practice as a form of symbolically violent cultural intermediation, designed to generate symbolic power for the interests of societal elites” (p. 439). Drawing on Bourdieu’s notion of culturally intermediaries as “shapers of taste and the inoculators of new consumerist dispositions” (Nixon and du Gay, 2002, p. 479), Edwards (2012) made a case for asking how, and for whom, public relations practice functions. In his words:  PR exists because organizations wish to establish an audible voice in commercial and  political marketplaces; this discursive struggle underpins all its work. Having a voice that  is heard above their competitors allows organizations to attribute symbolic value to  particular values, attitudes and practices (e.g. political policy positions, forms of  consumption, modes of operating a business) in a way that reinforces their own position  and challenges the validity of other perspectives (p. 441)   31  This aligns with work of Thomas Mickey (2003), who argued for the critical deconstruction of public relations. This process of deconstruction involves looking to understand “why, for whose welfare, or in what other sense might we understand the material” being presented to the public (p. 2).   Highlighting resistance to this top-down, symbolically violent practice, Richard Jones (2002) identified what he believed to be a shift, or challenge to public relations by NGOs and critical publics. He articulated what he saw as an emerging public that was perceptive of risks, actively making decisions about their future, critical of the industrial societies it once took for granted, and immersed in consumer activism. Jones (2002) warned that although small in terms of resources, NGOs have becoming increasingly effective in targeting corporate irresponsibility through public relations targeting campaigns of their own. Having said this, in the battle of dominant framing of environmental issues, corporations and powerful organizations, like LOCOG and BP, often incorporate NGOs like Greenpeace into their corporate environmentalist campaigns.   Along similar lines, Greenberg, Knight and Westersund (2011) conducted a compelling analysis into how public relations discourses were mobilized by competing corporate groups and NGOs looking to frame climate change in different and competing ways. Rejecting dominant ideas about public relations as the tool of ‘rhetorical mercenaries’ or “hired guns who advance corporate and government interests, often at the expense of the public” (p. 73), Greenberg, Knight and Westersund view public relations as a strategy used by many parties, including environmental NGOs. They found that public relations produced paradoxical outcomes regarding climate change, as it was utilized both as powerful instrument in the 32  pursuit of private interests – in ways that some would consider undemocratic and manipulative – while at the same time assisting to democratize communication across political, corporate and civic arenas. By understanding public relations as neither inherently good nor bad, the study presented in this thesis is based on a similar premise – which is, that PR practices are but one part of a continual process of struggle and conflict over political and economic power, and around the production and use of social meaning (Greenberg, Knight & Westersund, 2011). Investigating the public relations techniques utilized by LOCOG will afford insights into the intricate techniques used in framing this partnership and, in effect, the legitimization of certain approaches to environmental issues.   Sociology of Sport: Sport, Mega-Events and the Environment Since the early 1990s, the sociology of sport field has increasingly shifted focus toward the impacts of sporting events and industries on the natural environment. Although this transition has been relatively slow, a recent influx of work in the area (Hayes & Horne, 2011; Hayes & Karamichas, 2012; Karamichas, 2013; Pentifallo & VanWynsberghe, 2012; 2015; Wilson, 2012a; 2012b; VanWynsberghe, 2014) has led to key insights into environmental issues as they relate to sport, and sporting events. Scholars in the area have done well to illuminate the often complex and problematic ways in which the sport sector has responded to and grappled with environmental issues and concerns. Although scholarship on the relationship between sport and the environment is not as scarce as it once was, the field is still in its infancy.   In his widely cited book Greening our Games: Running Sports Events and Facilities That Won’t Cost the Earth (1994), Canadian David Chernushenko was among the first to discuss the impacts of sport on the environment. Within the text, Chernushenko outlined a number of key 33  environmental problems stemming from sport related development and industry, and outlined numerous strategies for sport managers and event organizers to “reduce the impact of their activities while capitalizing on the savings that often accompany better environmental practices” (as cited in Lenskyj, 2000a, p. 156). He was critical of the exploitive relationship that some sport industry members had with the environment and cautioned against hollow or disingenuous forms of ‘appearing green’ (Wilson, 2012a). Specifically pertinent to this project, Chernushenko (1994) expressed concerns over the increasing influence of corporate sponsorships on the staging of an event. He warned that commercialization could undermine and derail the delivery of sustainable sporting events and damage the reputation of the hosting organization,  For an organization which has worked hard to demonstrate its commitment to environmental stewardship, accepting a renowned corporate polluter as your major sponsor could spell the death of that image in the eyes of the public (p. 139).  More recently, a number of scholars in the area have been critical of Chernushenko who, while identifying potential problems with doing corporate environmentalist work, was ultimately committed to business-friendly, sustainability-driven approaches to environmental problems. Both Lenskyj (1998; 2000a; 2000b) and Wilson (2012a, 2012b) have taken issue with Cherneshenko’s supposition that the economic interests of sport industry are both primary to, and compatible with pro-environmental strategies. Lenskyj (1998; 2000a; 2000b) specifically argued that in his appeal to industry member’s financial interests, Chernushenko promoted a form of environmentalism that was contradictory and problematic. By approaching the natural environment as a resource for human use, and encouraging sport industry elites to adopt a pro-34  environment stance for financial gain, Chernushenko was adopting what Lenskyj (1998; 2000a; 2000b) described as a problematically ‘light-green’ form of environmentalism.   More broadly, Lenskyj (1998, 2000a; 2000b; 2002) emerged as a notable critic of the dominant forms of environmentalism adopted by those within the Olympic movement. In her pivotal work on the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Lenskyj looked critically at the “ways in which the various players define[d] and operationalize[d] the notion of ‘green’” (2000b, p. 173). Drawing on the work of Sharon Beder (1993) to differentiate between ‘light-green’ and ‘dark-green’ forms of environmentalism, Lenskyj utilized these paradigms to understand and describe the positions of various stakeholders (i.e. government, NGO and environmental groups) during the planning and delivery phases Games. She critiqued Sydney’s Olympic organizers, the Australian government and the IOC for largely ignoring the environmental best practices championed at the time, and for adopting a ‘light-green’ perspective on the environment – one predicated on materialism, global economic growth and a valuation of the natural environment as an economic resource (Beder, 1993). This anthropocentric (human-centered) perspective differed significantly, she argued, from the ‘dark-green’ forms of environmentalism championed by some environmental groups, which viewed nature as having its own intrinsic value. Lenskyj initiated critical analysis into the perspectives and processes involved in the greening of the Olympic movement, suggesting that decisions regarding sustainability practices tended to prioritize economy over ecology (Lenskyj, 2000a), and perpetuate the unequal power dynamics that often accompany relationships between corporations and environmental stakeholders during Olympic planning and delivery (Kearns & Pavlovich, 2002). 35  Within the field of sport management, Kearns and Pavlovich (2002) followed suit with their study of corporate social responsibility issues surrounding key stakeholders involved in Sydney’s ‘green Games’. Their work focused specifically on the environmental groups and commercial sponsors as stakeholders to Olympic Games delivery. They argued that the ‘light green’ perspective shared by the IOC, organizing committee (SOCOG) and corporate sponsors led to the prioritization of financial gains over environmental safe guarding, despite pleas from environmental groups who were included in the consultation process. This led to a general failure to fulfill many of the sustainability promises put forth in the Games bid. Kearns and Pavlovich (2002) argued that although the Sydney Games was constructed as a ‘green spectacle’, the organizers faced an incredibly complex task of delivering the Games in an environmentally friendly way. Specifically, this built on the work of many authors who have written on the Olympic spectacle and described how the commercialization of the Games could undermine many of the Olympic values that the IOC, Olympic host organizing committees and many others continue to champion (Gruneau & Cantelon, 1988; Lenskyj, 2002).  The commercialization of the modern Olympics has been written about extensively (Barney, Wenn & Martyn, 2002; Gruneau & Cantelon, 1988; Simson & Jennings, 1992; Tomlinson, 2006). The 1984 Games in Los Angeles (LA) are often discussed as a watershed moment in Olympic history, when the delivery model shifted from one primarily reliant on public funding, to one largely dependent on private-public partnerships and commercial sponsors (Gruneau & Neubaurer, 2012). In the wake of the 1976 Olympics, which left Montreal nearly one billion dollars in public debt, LA was one of only two cities to bid for the 1984 Games. When their lone competitor withdrew, the LA organizers were in a unique position to 36  negotiate with the IOC. They were granted permission to keep all sponsorship and media revenue, and for the first time, formed a private, non-profit corporation that would bear full responsibility for any costs incurred (Gruneau & Neubaurer, 2012). When both the Government of California and the LA municipal government refused to commit any funds towards the Games for fear of public debt, the organizing committee turned toward the private sector to amass their $500 million dollar budget (Gruneau & Neubaurer, 2012).   LA’s organizing committee thrived under the leadership of their Chairman Peter Ueberroth, later named Time Magazine’s man of the year (La Rocco, 2004). As a business savvy leader, Ueberroth devised a plan to limit the number of corporate sponsors, demanding a substantial financial contribution for more exclusive rights (Gruneau & Neubaurer, 2012). This challenged the previously maintained approach that more sponsors, meant more sponsorship money. Ueberroth also made nearly every Olympic insignia available for naming and sponsorship rights, including stadiums, merchandise and sections of the Torch Relay. When the Games concluded, LA’s organizing committee had earned a remarkable profit of over $220 million dollars (Zarnowski, 1993). According to many, LA’s privately organized and financed Games helped ‘save’ the modern Olympics by reframing them from an ever growing financial burden on host cities, to an opportunity for economic profit (Gaffney, 2013; La Rocca, 2004).   The unprecedented financial success of LA’s Olympics prompted the IOC to develop its own TOP (The Olympic Partners) program in 1985 (Puig, 2006). Mirroring LA’s model of exclusivity, this global sponsorship program granted a select number of corporations the right to utilize the Olympic symbols, and advertise their association to the Games. Not only did this program drastically increase the capital flow to the IOC and host organizations, it also 37  established long-term contracts with some of the World’s largest multinational corporations (Gaffney, 2013). As Barney, Wenn and Martyn (2002, p. 160) wrote, the 1984 Olympic Games “ushered in the formalization of relations between the world of business and the modern Olympic movement”. While undoubtedly attracting wealth to the Olympic programme, these relationships have also attracted criticism from those who condemn the corporatization of the Games, and for contradictions between the espoused Olympic values, and those of the corporations with whom organizers partner (Barney, Wenn & Martyn, 2002; Simson & Jennings, 1992).  A more recent study of commercial relationships between the IOC, local organizing committee and Olympic sponsors (specifically McDonalds and Coca-Cola) in the context of the 2012 London Olympics was conducted by Kenyon and Palmer (2008). They highlighted the contradictions that exist between the Olympic values (around health) and those of the Olympic sponsors (that promote generally unhealthy food and drinks). As they put it: The message, as a result of commercial trends on a global scale seems to be that we should endure the ethical contradictions in the short term, in order to stage the Olympic spectacle […] (Kenyon & Palmer, 2008, p. 39). This thesis study was focused especially on understanding and problematizing such contradictions, with a particular concern with the Olympics and the environment.   In the last two years, an influx of scholarship has developed around the complex relationship between sport and the environment. One piece particularly relevant to this study was Hayes and Horne’s (2011) critical reflection on the sustainable development agenda of the IOC and organizing committee of the London 2012 Olympics. In their analysis of the pre-Games development strategies of the 2012 London Games, the authors built a case against the 38  dominant approach to sustainable development championed by the Olympic movement. Although civic engagement and development were central to planning guidelines and documents, the authors argued that a significant disconnect existed between the “top-down, elite nature of sport mega-events and the ostensible redistributive and participatory sustainable development agenda’s staked out by [organizations] such as the IOC” (p. 749). With the Games predicated on (a) immovable deadlines, (b) high stakes in national reputation, (c) a strong focus on delivery and (d) the immense scale of a people watching, the Olympics result in, according to the authors, “systematic violence to existing or potential participatory democratic structures, from planning processes to established civic freedoms” (p. 198). That is to say, although the IOC framed democratic participation as central to their version of sustainability, the scale of the Games themselves and the primacy of event delivery rendered civic engagement and deliberation impossible (c.f. Hayes & Karamichas, 2012).    Finally, the proposed study has been heavily influenced by a number of chapters by Brian Wilson (2012a, 2012b; Millington & Wilson, 2013, 2016;  Wilson & Millington, 2013, 2015) which outline concerns that ecological modernist solutions to environmental problems are often the only solutions to these problems offered by many sport related organizations. Wilson argues that both strong and weak forms of ecological modernization position economic growth and technological development as drivers of environmental change and critiques these perspectives for (a) their failure to recognize that there may be environmental limits to economic growth, and (b) that they offer little insight into the complex power relations that surround policy and regulation decisions. In making these arguments, Wilson suggests that 39  dominant ecological modernist forms of sustainability can dangerously remove space for alternative (i.e. ‘dark green’) perspectives.   This line of inquiry was also pursued, although in a different fashion, within a recent book by John Karamichas (2013) titled The Olympic Games and The Environment. This books set out to evaluate “the extent to which hosting an Olympic Games leads to the Ecological Modernization (EM) of the host nation” (p. 2). The author compared and contrasted the environmental legacy of the four most recent summer games; Sydney (2000), Athens (2004), Beijing (2008) and London (2012), to trace the ‘greening’ of the most recent Games, and evaluate the extent to which the Games facilitated the ‘ecological modernization’ of the host city. Karamichas carefully reviewed the environmental history of each Games, and compared pre-and-post Games indicators of CO2 emissions, environmental consciousness, ratification of international agreements, designation of sites for protection and the implementation of environmental reporting to determine the lasting legacy. While this book was useful in understanding the history of, and institutionalization of environmental concern within the Olympic movement, Karamichas conceptualized EM as a process or end state, and was not critical of EM as a limited, or industry friendly framework.   More relevant to this study, in their paper on golf course management specifically, Millington and Wilson (2013) use the concept of post-politics to interpret how discussion and debate around any meaningful alternatives to EM were negated within the golf industry. Drawing on the work of Badiou (2005), Mouffe (2005), Rancière (2005) and Zizek (2006), Swyngedouw (2007; 2010) has outlined what he calls a ‘post-political condition’ of the environment. He outlined the ways in which the democratic-political realm, where 40  disagreement and debate is critical, ’contentious’ politics is being (or has been) replaced by a consensual, administrative, technocratic, collaborative and altogether post-political condition. Key to this concept is the “perceived inevitability of capitalism and a market economy as the basic organizational structure of the social and economic order, for which there is no alternative” (Swyndegouw, 2010, p. 215). That is to say that debate and disagreement is tolerated only in so far as it doesn’t challenge the notion of sustained capital growth and capitalistic order.  Specifically, Swyngedouw argues that political debate around the environment is increasingly being “evacuated of dispute and disagreement”. Strategies to increase consensus and limit debate include the involvement of experts in decision-making, and superficial stakeholder engagement strategies. In these cases, fundamental decisions around what is being sustained and for whom have already been made by ‘experts’, and disagreement is only allowed in respect to “the choice of technologies, the mix of organizational fixes, the detail of the managerial adjustments, and the urgency of their timing and implementation, not with respect to the socio-political framing of present and future natures” (Swyndegouw, 2011, p. 6). This line of scholarship is important for understanding how EM is often presented as the only way toward a ‘sustainable future’, and the methods through which powerful groups limit meaningful debate and dissent. Millington and Wilson, (2013) specifically call for more comprehensive work to confirm the salience of EM-oriented narratives within sport organizations. Despite the recent developments outlined above, there are few studies focused on analyzing the sustainability discourses put forth by Olympic organizing committees and no 41  studies focused specifically on public relations texts that communicate these discourses. The controversial selection and naming of BP as sustainability partner, a corporation considered by some to be historically un-sustainable, makes it an especially important case for analysis.    42  Chapter 3: Methodology and Method  In what follows, I discuss the method and methodology used for this project, with specific attention paid to the procedures for data collection and analysis.  The method of collection and analysis allowed examination into: (a) how LOCOG framed their partnership to BP, and (b) what assumptions about how to best deal with sport-related environmental problems were both explicitly and implicitly revealed in LOCOG’s justifications and framings of this partnership. These questions required an approach that centered on understanding how language and texts constitute meaning within broad social contexts, and thus, the data collection strategies and analytical framework for this study were conducted in accordance with Altheide, Coyle, DeVrise and Schneider’s (2008) principles of ‘emergent qualitative document analysis’ (QDA). Related to this strategy, and following Millington and Wilson (2013), the approach to QDA for this project also incorporated frame analysis as an analytic strategy.  In the next section I outline the guiding principles of QDA and frame analysis, and follow this with a discussion of the specific processes that was employed for this research study. 3.1   Methodological Framework  This research project was guided by the Altheide et al. (2008) approach to document analysis known as Qualitative Document Analysis or QDA. QDA is “an integrated, method, procedure and technique for locating, identifying, retrieving, and analyzing documents for their relevance, significance and meaning” (Altheide et al., 2008, p. 128). Also described as ‘ethnographic content analysis’, QDA requires the researcher to immerse themselves in a ‘community of texts’, and involves constant comparison and reflection in the discovery of emergent patterns and themes (Altheide et al., 2008). QDA is ethnographic in the sense that 43  researchers immerse themselves in content, continually look to discover new meaning, and reflexively analyze documents as the products of social interaction (Altheide & Schneider, 2013).  This method is unique for its reflexive and eclectic nature, and continuous attention to “situations, settings, styles, images, meanings, and nuances” (Altheide & Schneider, 2013, p.23). This practice is cyclical in nature, involving constant and systematic theoretical sampling and comparison of texts. QDA differs from other rigid, tightly prescribed methodologies in that it requires the researcher to be flexible, open to nuances, surprises and confusion. QDA emerged in opposition to the positivistic ‘truth’ driven methodologies that dominated research prior to the ‘reflexive turn’, and finds roots in social constructionism (Altheide et al., 2008). Social-constructivist epistemology maintains a rejection of the notions of ultimate truth, objectivity and knowledge accumulation. This approach views discourse and framing as critical activities in the construction of social reality, helping to shape the perspectives through which people see their world (Hallahan, 1999). QDA reflects both a methodological framework for understanding how texts can help construct and re-construct meaning, and a prescribed process for how to conduct meaningful analysis. Initially, QDA is exploratory and involves “reading, looking, reflecting and taking notes” (Altheide et al., 2008, p.135). The analysis subsequently becomes more systematic and focused, and at this stage, frame analysis (explained below) became a useful analytic tool. The practice of QDA involves a continuous process of checking and rechecking new data against emergent themes, not necessarily to confirm them, but to also reveal inconsistencies and complexities across time and context (Altheide et al., 2008).  Although this technique is flexible, it is not 44  without rigor (Millington & Wilson, 2013). In fact, the flexible and eclectic nature of QDA is well suited for research that is “interested in the subtle an overt processes and techniques that allow particular frames to become foregrounded and privileged”, and was thus a fruitful methodological framework for this project (Millington & Wilson, 2013, p. 13). Frame analysis is a tool for understanding and investigating language and communication that has been used in a range of disciplines (Hallahan, 1999), and was used as a supplemental analysis tool. According to Hallahan (1999) framing can be conceptualized as “a window or portrait frame drawn around information that delimits the subject matter and, thus, focuses attention on key elements within it” (p. 207). Put simply, framing works to highlight, or make salient particular discourses or ways of thinking about the world, and frame analysis involves paying attention to the ways that certain messages and interpretations are highlighted over others. A number of scholars have recently offered frame analysis as a potentially rich avenue for studying public relations texts (Hallahan, 1999; Waller & Conaway, 2011) as it enables researchers to capture the strategic side of communication (Loizides, 2009). These scholars are often interested in the work of public relations strategists – who commonly represent high profile organizations and corporations – and how they strategically construct particular ‘frames’ in an to attempt to define, contextualize and categorize issues and events for both their organizational members and the public (Deetz, Tracy & Simpson, 2000). While researchers frequently attempt to highlight the preferred meaning(s) that public relations strategists ‘encode’ into PR texts (Deetz et al., 2000), scholars like Hardy (2001) stress that there are always a variety of ways that these texts can be understood (i.e., discourses are never ‘closed’). 45  Still, establishing how preferred meanings are privileged and how they may become naturalized and reified is worthwhile if we are to understand how unequal power relations are established and maintained. This said, Hardy’s (2001) recognition of competing and intersecting frames acted as a strong reminder that while PR strategies may attempt to frame discourses in a certain way, these frames can also be taken up, contested and interpreted in different and contrasting ways.   The methodological framework for this study also drew upon Richard Alexander’s (2009) book, Framing Discourse on the Environment: A Critical Discourse Approach. Specifically, by drawing links between discourse, language and ecology, Alexander outlined how powerful social actors and organizations construct certain representations of the natural world. Through language, he argued, “rich and powerful business corporations, in particular, but also their acolytes in politics and the media, employ discourse to channel tolerance for further environmental degradation” (p. 27). As seen in the following statement, Brand (2011) stresses the importance of such studies in understanding the ongoing contested framing of ecological issues;  The sustainability debate is not just about looking for the best solutions of sustainability problems but also about a comprehensive norm-building process, a restructuring of social interpretations of reality and institutional practices. If specific ways of framing problems define the range of possible and legitimate ways of solving them, then the question of which frames, images, and metaphors gain public acceptance is of vital importance for the kind of policies and measures adopted (p. 268).   Method According to Altheide et al. (2008), QDA involves a “recursive and reflexive movement between concept development, sampling data collection, data coding, data analysis, and 46  interpretation” (p. 128). As such, data collection occurred throughout the analysis and continually over the course of the project, which allowed for the ‘rechecking’ of emerging themes against new data (Altheide et al., 2008). For this study, texts were drawn almost exclusively from the official website of the London Olympic Games (www.london2012.com). The text sources were selected on both pragmatic and theoretical grounds.  3.2.1  Data Collection  The official website for the London 2012 Summer Olympics (www.london2012.com) was utilized to access official LOCOG publications (sustainability plans, annual reports etc.) and press releases. As the ‘official’ location of LOCOG’s public communication, this website offered a viable source to pull texts that represent the dominant frames presented by LOCOG. Selection and archival began three months prior to the opening ceremonies, as many scholars have reflected on the changing nature of web based texts, and the disappearance of Olympic documents (Bryman, 2008). I selected and archived the texts based on each of the following site wide search terms: BP and ‘sustainability partner’. The ‘sustainability partner’ search term was added when it was discovered that LOCOG sometimes spoke about this specially designation as a whole group, without always listing the members. In addition, all reports that were produced by LOCOG (not the ODA) and fell under the section of the website titled ‘sustainability’ were also analyzed to discover instances where BP’s involvement may have been omitted. Throughout Games time, the website was checked weekly to collect any additional documents, and press releases. As soon as the Games came to a close, and as predicted by scholars such as Bryman (2008), many of the documents were no longer available. For post-Games documents, the UK government website acted as a valuable archive and location for 47  emerging documents (http://learninglegacy.independent.gov.uk/index.php). Document searches continued until the time of publication, which allowed for the inclusion of post-games reports such as the LOCOG Learning Legacies (discussed in the results section). All documents were saved and stored as PDF files. In total, 14 reports and 7 press releases were analyzed based on the search criteria. These documents are listed in the table below: YEAR MONTH TITLE 2007 July  Press Release: EDF announced as London 2012 sustainability partner 2007 October Sustainability Policy 2007 November Press Release: London 2012 launches sustainability plan 2007 November Sustainability Plan: Towards a one planet 2012 2008 December Press Release: London 2012 on track to reach sustainability goals 2008 December Sustainability Plan Update: Towards a one planet 2012 - update 2008 December Sustainability plan: Progress report card 2008 N/A Annual Report: 2007-2008 2009 December Press Release: London 2012 sustainability plans are on track 2009 December Sustainability Plan: Towards a one planet 2012 2010 N/A Annual Report: 2009-2010 2011 April Press Release: London 2012 issues first sustainability report 2011 April Sustainability Report: A blueprint for change 2011 August Annual Report: 2010-2011 2012 February Zero waste games vision 2012 April Pre-games sustainability report: Delivering change 2012 April Press Release: UN Environment Chief praises London 2012’s sustainability measures 2012 June Press Release: London 2012 drives new International standard for sustainable event management 2012 December A legacy of change: Post Games sustainability report 2013 January Learning Legacy: London 2012 Sustainability Partners 2013 January Learning Legacy: Reducing and compensating the games carbon footprint Table 2: List of documents analyzed. 48   While most of LOCOG’s documents went un-authored (i.e., it was impossible to know who within the Organization wrote them), the post-Games Learning Legacy documents did list authors. For the Learning Legacy on the carbon footprint of the Games the lead author was Craig Simmons, CEO for Best Foot Forward, a sustainability consultancy agency hired by LOCOG that specialized in carbon footprinting. He gave credit to the contributions of the following LOCOG members: Amanda Aukett (Venues Sustainability Manager), Jose Castro-Nietro (Energy Data Collection Manager), Phil Cumming (Corporate Sustainability Manager), Shaun Darke (Commercial Contract Manager), Kelvin Freeman (Energy Manager), Amanda Kiely (Sustainability Projects Manager), David Stubbs (Head of Sustainability), Susie Tomson (Venues Sustainability Manager) (p. 20).   For the Sustainability Partners Learning Legacy, the listed authors were LOCOG’s David Stubbs, Head of Sustainability, and Felicity Cartwright (formerly Hartnett), Sustainability Partnerships Manager for LOCOG. Prior to working with LOCOG, David Stubbs managed his own consulting company which specialized in the environmental aspects of golf course development and management, and was at one time the Executive Director of the European Golf Association Ecology Unit (Stubbs, n.d.). Interestingly, prior to working for LOCOG, Felicity Cartwright worked for BP as their group culture change, ethics and values manager. In this capacity she managed a culture change programme after long-term CEO Lord Browne had retired (Cartwright, n.d.). On her LinkedIn profile, Cartwright described her role with LOCOG as follows: To use the power of the Games to inspire the sports fans, athletes, sponsors and opinion formers with the amazing story of delivering the most sustainable Games ever. I was responsible for the creation and execution of all sustainability communications and engagement, the management of cross-stakeholder partnership programmes and the 49  delivery of the sponsors £15 million sustainability contract. Much of this had never been done before.  3.2.2  Data Analysis QDA is oriented along a number of steps, although in practice this process is more circular than linear. Following Altheide et al., (2008), this analysis involved an initial reading of the selected texts to get acquainted with the content of the documents and gain familiarity. In practice, this ‘initial reading’ took place in two phases. Each time a report or press release was collected, I read it in its entirety to gain familiarity with the text, and the context in which BP was discussed (or absent). During this initial phase, I began keeping a research log where I would note any patterns, questions (i.e., is BP LOCOG’s expert on alternative fuels?) or emerging frames. This log supported the process of gaining familiarity with the texts, and was used throughout the second reading as well.  During this second phase, I read each document again, although here I began with the earliest document (July 2007) and worked forward to the most recent (Learning Legacies). As I noticed patterns or similarities, I was able to group examples from multiple documents under one heading or frame (ie. BP as partner), which encouraged me to test this concept against future documents. This initial phase allowed me to be “systematic and analytic but not rigid” and encouraged conceptual refinement (Altheide & Schneider, 2013, p. 26). More specifically, this process was in line with Altheide and Schneider’s (2013) suggestion that “categories and variables initially guide the study, including an orientation toward constant discovery and constant comparison of relevant situations, settings, styles, images, meanings and nuances” 50  (p.26). Using this research log allowed me to be fluid in my analysis as it was flexible enough to incorporate hunches, ideas and curiosities.  This second, chronological reading also helped these documents sit alongside one another and ideas regarding how LOCOG’s framings of BP were inconsistent over time began to emerge. From here, I felt the need to move to a more systematic thematic categorization of the data, and relied heavily on my research log to draft multiple thematic categories. Each document was then read carefully again, with specific examples and themes being systematically logged and brought together. These categories were revised and modified as needed, and each additional document was checked and rechecked against emergent themes. This exercise was incredible useful for seeing how LOCOG’s framings were not always consistent over time.  I applied frame analysis to the public relations documents produced by LOCOG to allow for a nuanced investigation into how certain messages and interpretations were highlighted over others. This involved acute attention into how LOCOG highlighted BP in certain contexts and not others, as well as their dominant or most preferred frame of the partnership. Much of this analysis focused on semantics, as many of the documents repeated the same wording regarding, for example, specific sponsorship designations. Also, this analytical frame helped me to pay acute attention to moments when BP was not highlighted, or seemed altogether absent.  Without direct access to LOCOG or BP, this study does not claim to develop knowledge regarding the ways that discourses were negotiated or contested within LOCOG. Focus instead was on LOCOG’s framing(s) of the partnership with BP, and the explicit and implicit assumptions that seemed to underlie these justifications and frames.  51   Reflexivity As a researcher, it is important to consider my relation to this study, and how I’ve both impacted and been impacted by the research (Patton, 2002). As Patton describes, “to be reflexive, then, is to undertake an ongoing examination of what I know and how I know it, to have an ongoing conversation about experience while simultaneously living in the moment” (p. 64-65). While I do not possess insider knowledge regarding the Organizing Committee’s PR strategies, I am critical of the role that Olympic Organizers play in constructing discourse around what it means to host a sustainable event. In alignment with the ontological and epistemological assumptions of the study, which regard reality and knowledge as socially constructed, it is important to note that the analysis of the texts that follows is one such social construction. Also in alignment with contextual cultural studies, this study makes no pretensions to objectivity or political disinvestment (King, 2005). As argued by Denzin and Lincoln (2002), critical studies “can and should take sides”, and the perspective of the researcher made explicit (p. 487).   This critical lens was part of what piqued my interest in this particular project, and while I have not attempted to set aside my perspective, I did constantly attempt to challenge my own assumptions. In fact, there were moments in the middle of the analysis when I questioned my critique of the Organizing Committee, as praise began to mount around their successes regarding sustainability. I was comforted by the comments of researcher Peter Dauvergne who lamented that he too reached a moment when he questioned his critique of the sustainability practices of the big-box companies he studying (Vancouver Institute Lecture, March 10, 2012). I attempted to continually examine my own assumptions to ensure that I was not unintentionally 52  taking up the dominant perspective put forth (rather convincingly) by the Organizing Committee. By questioning my own assumptions about what it means to hold a sustainable mega-event, and about the role that regular citizens (such as myself) can play in critiquing dominant narratives, I was able to feel more comfortable ‘taking sides’. According to both Brand (2011) and Alexander (2009), critical language studies are an important tool to enhance doubt, illuminate misrepresentations and uncover processes of naturalization regarding corporate friendly framing of ecological issues.   53  Chapter 4: Results  In what follows, I narrate the ways that LOCOG framed BP over time. This narrative includes a description of how, at times, this framing seemed to ‘bob and weave’, or more specifically, how BP moved in and out of LOCOG’s PR spotlight. Firstly, I offer examples of how LOCOG used specific language and designation rights to frame BP as an important partner to the Games, and discuss how LOCOG hoisted BP up as a ‘special’ partner with specific and important expertise around sustainability and technology. I provide insight into the fascinating ways that LOCOG promoted BP as a ‘sustainability cheerleader’, with an important role to play in motivating the general public toward more sustainable behaviour. However, I also highlight instances where BP’s involvement in the Games was altogether absent from LOCOG documents, and attempt to draw attention to the moments when BP was deemphasized or disappeared altogether. I then move to discuss the stated and implicit assumptions that underpinned LOCOG’s justifications for, and framings of their partnership with BP. Specifically, I highlight the ways that LOCOG foregrounded and privileged the idea that corporate collaboration and expertise are essential for solving environmental problems associated with hosting the Olympics – and how corporate partners like BP are reliable ‘experts’ that can support Games-related sustainability efforts.   LOCOG’s Framing of BP: From Spotlight to Shadow and Back Again Much of LOCOG’s framing of BP remained fairly consistent, with similar verbiage repeated from report to report – and references to BP as a ‘special partner’, ‘expert’ and ‘motivator’. There were moments, however, when BP’s role in the Games was downplayed or 54  mention of the corporation was oddly absent. In the following section, I will outline how LOCOG framed BP as a ‘special’ partner with expertise around sustainability – and describe LOCOG’s stated vision of BP as an important ‘sustainability motivator’. Following this, I will discuss how LOCOG seemed to move BP from the spotlight to the shadows of their PR efforts at specific moments.    4.1.1 BP as ‘Special’ Partner In many ways, LOCOG framed BP as a unique and important partner to the Games. Perhaps unsurprisingly, in all of the documents analyzed, LOCOG labeled BP as a ‘partner’ and its relationship to the corporation as a ‘partnership’. Although not unique to BP – as all IOC-selected TOP sponsors and many of LOCOG’s official sponsors were regularly referred to as such – this ‘partner frame’ became especially salient in the context of the multitude of additional and exclusive partnership designations awarded to BP. I am referring here to LOCOG’s appointment of BP as: Official Carbon Offset Partner, Official Oil and Gas Partner, Official Partner, Premier Partner to the Cultural Olympiad, Sustainability Partner and Tier 1 Partner. By establishing and centering these designations throughout their PR documents, LOCOG repeatedly framed BP as more than a financial sponsor to the Games. Specifically, by foregrounding and repeating labels such as ‘official partner’ or ‘premier partner’ when discussing BP, LOCOG held the corporation up as an important and ‘legitimate’ partner to the Games.  In fact, these designations were consistently referred to in LOCOG’s reports and press releases as a way of depicting BP’s expertise in carbon offsetting, sustainable energy and the arts. For example, throughout LOCOG’s PR texts, BP's various designations were used to 55  describe BP’s partnership(s) to the Games and to highlight their related expertise (in carbon offsetting, for example). Below I list a number of examples:   “To try and reduce the carbon impact of visitor travel further still, the ODA has partnered with BP Target Neutral who are offering all spectators the opportunity to offset their emissions. These high quality carbon offsets are compliant with the ICROA Code of Best Practice and meet the standards set out in UK’s recently published standard on carbon neutrality.” (Pre-Games Sustainability Report, LOCOG, 2012b, p. 73)  “LOCOG will work with its Fuel Partner BP and automotive partner BMW and main logistics partner UPS to seek low emission solutions for Games-time vehicle operations.” (Sustainability Plan: Progress Report Card, LOCOG, 2008c, p. 61)   “As the Official Fuel Provider for the Games, BP is fueling the fleet of official London 2012 vehicles with BP ultimate diesel. Compared with ordinary diesel, BP ultimate diesel delivers up to 26 miles extra per tank in cars – on average 16 miles more – and significantly reduces harmful exhaust emissions: carbon monoxide by an average of 16 per cent, hydrocarbons by eight per cent and NOx by three per cent.” (Pre-Games Sustainability Report, LOCOG, 2012b, p. 90)  “BP is the Official Carbon Offset Partner for the Games and is committed to offsetting all the CO2 emissions of the Games Family Transport Service, as well as launching a spectator and partner activation programme using Target Neutral. BP also launched the London 2012 Young Leaders programme in 2010. (Sustainability Report: A blueprint for change; LOCOG, 2011b, p.87)  “We have appointed BP as our Official Carbon Offsetting Partner, to provide a robust, formal carbon offsetting programme for the Games Family transport service.” (Pre-Games Sustainability Report, LOCOG, 2012b, p. 11)  “Along with providing the fuel for improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, BP is the Official Carbon Offset Partner and in 2011 it pledged to offset all the CO2 emissions of the Games Family fleet and also of spectator journey emissions through the BP Games website” (Pre-Games Sustainability Report, LOCOG, 2012b, p. 90) It is clear from these examples how BP was framed as a partner (i.e., as more than a sponsor) with valuable expertise in a range of sustainability-related areas. Although I will discuss this ‘expert framing’ in more detail in coming sections, these designations and the programs BP was positioned to lead, provide both a symbolic and material basis from which LOCOG established this partnership frame. It is worth noting here that BP was the only 56  organization recognized with the specialty designations of Official Carbon Offset Partner, Official Fuel Partner, Official Oil and Gas Partner and Premier Partner to the Cultural Olympiad.  BP’s seemingly special status was also evident from the placement of BP’s name and descriptions of their sustainability-related work within key bodies of LOCOG documents. That is to say, while space for thanking sponsors was commonly relegated to the last pages of the documents, BP’s role as a ‘special’ partner meant that they were featured in places related explicitly to the sustainability initiates of the organizing committees. For example, in the Post-Games Sustainability report (2012e), BP was highlighted in multiple sections. Consider the following write-ups that appeared in key sections of that report (note that the section headings appear at the beginning of each point, below):  “Sustainability at the Games: Several London 2012 commercial partners were actively engaged in promoting sustainability on the Olympic Park during the Games: BP and Cisco with their interactive pods as part of the ‘Walk in the Olympic Park’ project; BP, BMW and EDF with their main showcases highlighting their sustainability initiatives and products; and Coca-Cola’s roving team of ‘Recycling Ambassadors’.”(p. 14)  “Low Carbon Games: There is little that London 2012 could have done to impact directly on the majority of the spectator travel footprint as it was largely made up of air travel by overseas visitors. To try and compensate for the carbon arising from these journeys and increase awareness of the carbon impact of travel, London 2012 sustainability partner BP Target Neutral initiated free carbon offsetting to spectators and teams. This captured more than 500,000 individual return journeys, offsetting more than 99,000 tonnes of CO2e arising from travel.” (p. 23)  “Sustainable and accessible transport: All vehicles operated on BP ultimate fuels (including ultra-low sulphur diesel) for cleaner emissions and improved fuel efficiency.” (p. 37)  “Economic benefits of sustainability: Many London 2012 Partners devoted significant marketing budgets to sustainability promotions (that is, on top of their core sponsorship deal). Among the Sustainability Partners, BP, EDF Energy and BMW Group incorporated strong sustainability messaging into their Olympic Park showcases and across broader advertising platforms; BP and Cisco participated in the ‘Walk in the Olympic Park’ activation.” (p. 40)  “Promoting sustainable living: Sustainability messaging was integrated into several 57  mainstream channels. The spectator guides sent to each ticket holder referenced sustainable travel modes, recycling and accessibility options. Each ticket wallet had a luggage tag bearing information on the BP Target Neutral carbon offset scheme, while at-venue and in-store messaging ranged from specific signage to PA announcements. All retail carrier bags highlighted reuse and recycling.” (p. 46) On the most basic level, these, and the previous examples, illustrate the ways in which LOCOG framed BP as a ‘special’ partner with a particularly important role to play in the delivery of a sustainable Olympic Games. It would seem then that BP was being framed – because of the amount that was written about them, and the placement of these write-ups – as a partner who made important contributions to the success of the Games. This framing contrasts with portrayals of many of the other sponsors, who were simply thanked on the back pages of these reports and documents. Moreover, by repeating labels such as ‘official’ or ‘premier’, and granting the company special responsibilities related to carbon management and sustainable transportation, LOCOG framed the company as both an important and ‘legitimate’ partner to the Games. 4.1.2 BP as Expert Along with their explicit positioning of BP as (usually special) ‘partner’, LOCOG framed BP as a corporation with valuable expertise. They did this by openly deferring to and consulting with BP on a number of issues – specifically those related to environmental sustainability. As above, this narrative was significant as it established BP as a corporation with more to offer the Olympic project than capital alone. BP’s role in the London Games was often presented in relation to their expertise in sustainable energy, fuel production and carbon offsetting.  There were a number of ways that the ‘BP as expert’ frame was promoted. LOCOG actively deferred to BP on sustainability projects. This was especially evident when it came to 58  sustainable fuel technologies and carbon offsetting. As the Official Fuel Provider, and Official Oil and Gas Partner, BP was framed as a company at the leading edge of ‘clean’ or sustainable fuel technologies – an expert in the area. LOCOG contracted BP to fuel all 5000 Games vehicles, striving for “cleaner emissions and improved fuel efficiency” (Pre-Games Sustainability Report, LOCOG, 2012b, p.87). The use of this ‘advanced technology’ was celebrated by LOCOG as a key emission reduction strategy (Sustainability Report, LOCOG, 2011b; Post-Games Sustainability Report, 2012e). Wording such as ‘advanced fuel molecules’, ‘biofuels’, and ‘most advanced’ suggested that BP was on the leading edge of this technology (Pre-Games Sustainability Report, LOCOG 2012b, p. 90). The following example from the Pre-Games Sustainability Report (2012b) offers a telling example of the language used:  BP’s focused biofuels strategy includes investing in the production of ethanol from sugarcane in Brazil and from cellulosic feedstocks, such as dedicated energy grasses, in the US; and the development of advanced fuel molecules, such as biobutanol. BP’s biofuels criteria are that they must be:   o Low cost: to compete with petrol or diesel with or without fiscal support. o Low carbon: the carbon footprint that is measurable from field to wheel. o Scalable – it is BP’s belief that biofuels can replace as much as 20 per cent, if   not more, of road transport fuels by 2030; and o Sustainable – economically, socially and environmentally (p. 90). Such language assisted in the framing of BP as an expert as it implicitly linked BP with technical knowledge about sustainability – and, in doing so, helped position BP as a worthy consultant and collaborator. Controversially, BP’s traditional brand of ‘Ultimate Fuels’ serviced the majority of the vehicles, with only 40 Games vehicles (or less than one percent) being powered by these ‘advanced biofuels’ (Pre-Games Sustainability Report, LOCOG, 2012b).  Similar narratives around BP’s expertise and knowledge of ‘best practices’ were reiterated through BP’s role as Official Carbon Offset Partner. BP was consistently framed as a 59  knowledgeable ally in carbon offsetting and measurement, and was described as having the required expertise “to provide a robust, formal carbon offsetting programme” (Pre-Games Sustainability Report, LOCOG, 2012b, p.13). LOCOG was careful to frame these offsets as “high quality” and “compliant with […] best practices”, although detail was rarely provided on the offset projects themselves (Pre-Games Sustainability Report, LOCOG, 2012b, p. 73). BP was framed as the expert in carbon offsetting, with LOCOG deferring entirely to BP’s Target Neutral programme in this regard.  Of course, by selecting BP for numerous specialty designations, as discussed earlier, LOCOG was already positioning BP as a leading ‘expert’ in the specific areas that LOCOG asked them to lead in. In fact, and although the reason for BP’s selection was never explicitly stated (I return to this point below), LOCOG used language that suggested these designations were awarded based on knowledge, experience or expertise. For example, in describing the Sustainability Partner programme, LOCOG’s wording suggested that this exclusive label was reserved for corporations with relevant expertise: A small number of London 2012’s main partners will also have the right to use the designation ‘Sustainability Partner’. This is reserved for companies which: supply products essential to the staging of the Games and which provide significant benefits in relation to sustainability, both within the context of the 2012 Games and generally […] (Sustainability Plan, LOCOG 2007d, p. 57).  This language of expertise on sustainability-related issues is also embedded in the core objectives of the Sustainability Partners. For example, the partners are mandated by LOCOG to “exchange best practices” (2009b, p.78; 2011b, p. 88), and “inspire a step change in sustainable living through their own products and expertise” (2011b, p.18; 2012b, p. 216). Similar, if not identical wording was repeated in nearly every document in which the programme was 60  mentioned. This sort of repetition would also seem to reinforce the message that those selected are, in fact, organizations that are leaders when it comes to best practices. They are offered up as champions of sustainability and key sources for the kind of expertise and experience required to improve the relationship between mega-events (and those who attend and observe) and the environment.  These linkages between the Sustainability Partners and conceptions of expertise and best practices on environmental issues seemed curious when I read a post-Games report on the Sustainability Partners programme and noted that a) the Programme lacked clear definition and boundaries and b) that the composition of the group was not based on merit (LOCOG, 2013a, p. 7). Specific reflections from this document included;   “This meant that the final composition of the group was in part by chance rather than a strategically chosen grouping, which in turn made it more challenging still to find a common platform for the group.” (p.6)  “The lack of definition of the Sustainability Partner designation created confusion among stakeholders, as well as the general public. Campaign groups assumed the designation was an unjustified ‘award’ to the six companies that had simply bought the right to promote ‘greenwash’. This was hard to counter because of the imprecise nature of the designation and its lack of distinctiveness in relation to other London 2012 sponsors” (p. 9)  “If a future project or event organisation were to create a similar designation for its sponsors, it should be defined in detail from the outset with clear boundaries, accountabilities, goals and an appropriate budget to deliver against the agreed terms.” (p.9) These admissions would seem to be inconsistent with the message that was emphasized in core PR texts, where LOCOG suggested that the Sustainability Partners were selected for their expertise in sustainable business practices. Of course, these linkages are also curious if we consider BP’s highly questionable track record on environmental issues, a key point I will revisit later in this document.  61   Interestingly, BP was also framed as an expert in areas unrelated to environmental sustainability, or oil and gas. Through a number of education initiatives, BP was framed as a leader and expert in business, inclusion and youth development. BP’s Young Leaders Programme, for example, involved a two-year training programme for ‘disadvantaged young people’ throughout greater London (BP, 2012b, p. 10). Led by BP employees or ‘coaches’, the objective was to provide participants with opportunities for positive personal change that they might not have had otherwise, and to encourage them to carry this forward into their communities (BP, 2012b). Workshops focused on developing leadership skills, but also covered topics such as healthy eating and the importance of diversity and inclusion (BP, 2012b). In this context, LOCOG foregrounded BP as an expert in leadership and business, and as a worthy advisor for this community programme. Mentorship by BP personnel was framed as a great opportunity for learning (LOCOG, 2011b).  While this is not to say that BP was the only corporation that LOCOG offered as an expert on sustainability, this framing was significant in establishing BP as a worthy source for consultation and collaboration. This was in line with the organizing committee’s reliance on corporate sponsors to spread sustainability messaging, inspire citizens to live more sustainably, and in making sustainability relevant to a vast number of people. In LOCOG’s words: While sponsors and official suppliers have made important contributions to environmental programmes of previous Olympic and Paralympic Games, never before has this theme been such an important theme for Games sponsorship. Since London won the right to host the 2012 Games, there has been a step change in corporate activity in the field of sustainability and this presents exciting opportunities to showcase new initiatives, practices and technologies (LOCOG, 2007d, p. 57). 62  Together, BP and other Olympic sponsors were framed not only as key experts in sustainability, but as essential motivators toward a broader sustainability movement, a point I discuss in more detail below.  4.1.3 BP as Motivator Civic inspiration was fundamental to LOCOG’s PR campaign and was a core delivery objective. This overall vision of LOCOG was “to use the power of the Games to inspire change” – with a particular focus on healthy lifestyles, physical activity, and inspiring individuals to live more ‘sustainable lifestyles’. This involved marketing the London Games as the ‘most sustainable ever’, and using public relations strategies to inspire behaviour change. LOCOG promoted the Games as a model of sustainable development and as an inspiration for sustainable living. The Olympic Park was designed as a ‘blueprint for sustainable living’, and offered as an exemplary model for sustainable development projects. LOCOG framed the games as an unparalleled opportunity to demonstrate sustainable development on a global scale. In turn, LOCOG framed corporate sponsors – like BP – as playing a crucial role in spreading the sustainability messaging of the Games and inspiring the public to live more sustainably. An important strategy for promoting sustainable living, according to LOCOG, was to utilize the ‘reach’ of corporate partners like BP. Corporate partners were framed as having large-scale influence over their employees and customers. In fact, a key objective for the Games was “to influence behaviour change and promote sustainable living through outreach initiatives and leveraging the power of commercial partnerships” (LOCOG 2011b, p.84).  63  The Sustainability Partners Programme was designed to meet this objective, and LOCOG used civic inspiration and resulting behaviour change as rationale for the programme (LOCOG, 2009b). As discussed earlier, the mission of the programme was to “work together, with London 2012, to inspire a step change in the way sustainability is perceived and delivered” (LOCOG, 2009b). LOCOG highlighted the capacity of these selected corporations to inspire lasting behaviour change, or as LOCOG put it, “we know that by working together with our marketing partners, we can reach more people” (LOCOG, 2011b, p. 88). The apparent success of the Sustainability Partners programme in this regard was reflected on in the Post-Games Learning Legacy Report: LOCOG was always committed to delivering a strong sustainability programme. However, the effect of having Sustainability Partners certainly made people take notice in a way that might otherwise have been much harder to achieve. This effective turbo-charging of the sustainability programme in the early years of LOCOG’s life cycle was hugely important (LOCOG, 2013a, p. 7). In early documents, LOCOG suggested that at least some of the motivation for behavior change would come from the actions of the corporations themselves, as they led by example. Selection was limited to corporations who “provide[d] significant benefits in relation to sustainability, both within the context of the 2012 Games and generally” (LOCOG, 2007d, p. 52) and LOCOG initially “encourage[d] commercial partners to minimize their own carbon emissions” (LOCOG, 2008b, p.11). Over time, however, focus shifted away from the practices of the corporations themselves and towards their ability to market the sustainability story of the Games in their promotional activities.  This background is certainly pertinent to the framing of BP as a key contributor to the ‘inspiration and motivation’ parts of the Sustainability Partners programme, and as a key 64  resource for promoting sustainable living in general. For example, in their role as Official Carbon Offset Partner, BP’s Target Neutral program was aimed at inspiring spectators and athletes to consider the impact of their travel to the Games, and encouraging them to take steps to reduce and offset these emissions. Each ticket holder received a free luggage tag bearing information on the BP Target Neutral carbon offset scheme, and a spectator guide which included information on the programme (LOCOG, 2012e). BP’s pavilions within the Olympic park were also designed to inspire spectators to take part. LOCOG spoke about this as “the embedded approach” (2012e, p.40). By integrating sustainability messaging into ‘mainstream channels’, LOCOG hoped to influence widespread behaviour change. BP, and their associated programs were championed as avenues through which people could be motivated to pursue a more sustainable lifestyle.  Finally, in their capacity as leader of the Young Leaders programme, BP was also framed as motivator – able to “raise the aspirations” of disadvantaged youth (LOCOG, 2012b, p. 212). As discussed earlier, this two-year training program was aimed at inspiring ‘disadvantaged young people’ toward bettering themselves and their communities. In this context, LOCOG framed BP as capable of, and responsible for, the inspiration and motivation of these young people. Specifically, BP was tasked with giving “100 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to gain and apply learned skills, raise their aspirations and develop leadership skills” (LOCOG, 2011b, p. 83). In particular, these ‘disadvantaged youth’ were to aspire to become a Games’ volunteer, although only a small number would be selected. By selecting BP to lead this program, as opposed to a community group or 65  organization that worked with young people on a regular basis, LOCOG framed the company as one capable of inspiring youth toward personal improvement and achievement. 4.1.4 The Changing Frame: BP in the Shadows   While much of LOCOG’s framing of BP remained fairly consistent leading up to and through the Games, with similar verbiage repeated from report to report – it is worth noting that there were a number of key moments when BP’s involvement seemed oddly absent. While omission of details on BP’s involvement made sense in the context of some reports – such as the short-form BP ‘Report Cards’ which lacked overall depth and detail – in others it appeared more significant. By attending to these moments, and to the nuanced ways that this LOCOG moved BP from spotlight to shadow, a unique story is revealed about how LOCOG may have been responsive to external critiques. This is not to suggest that LOCOG completely separated itself from BP – this was not the case (the data reported in the last section, taken from the post-Games sustainability report, is evidence of this relative stability). Still, and while nuanced and transitory, a significant finding of this project was that LOCOG’s framing of BP was shifty and perhaps strategically reactive.  As I note earlier, BP was selected to be involved in LOCOG’s Sustainability Partners program in July of 2008. Early on (2007-2009), LOCOG specifically highlighted or celebrated their partnership with BP on a number of occasions. Within their first annual report (2007-2008), for example, a quote from BP’s then CEO Tony Hayward was enlarged and foregrounded within the Director’s Report written by LOCOG’s CEO Paul Deighton. As the most prominent item on the page, it read, “London 2012 is going to be the one of the biggest events ever staged in the UK. This is a fantastic adventure and we are looking forward to playing our part in full” 66  (LOCOG, 2008d, p. 26). Despite having little to do with the context of the Director’s Report, BP’s involvement with the Games was featured prominently here. In the same document, BP was the only newly appointed Tier 1 partner to receive specific mention, and it was within the text of the Chief Executive’s Review (p. 8). Although texts from this early phase were sparse, such special treatment helped established LOCOG’s connection with BP early on. Here, partnership with BP appeared to be something that the Organizing Committee was excited to show off. In a time before the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, and with BP’s history as a British company, this is perhaps unsurprising. Of course, other examples of LOCOG’s favourable framing of BP as ‘partner’ appeared in LOCOG-produced documents described in the introduction to this section – documents that appeared throughout the lead up to the Games, during the Games and to a certain extent after.  A key and unusual finding became evident, however, as I observed particular moments when BP’s involvement in the Games seemed absent, or framed strategically. For example, and in contrast to the early documents, where BP stood out as a celebrated member of the Sustainability Partners, in many of the later documents (2011-2013) LOCOG preferred to champion BP’s role as Carbon Offset Partner or Official Oil and Gas Partner. In fact, during this period, LOCOG very rarely referred to BP as a ‘sustainability partner’. To be specific, when discussing the programme, LOCOG always listed the names of the six sustainability partners. However, when discussing BP’s involvement specifically, sustainability partner was not the preferred label. That is to say, when discussing BP’s involvement with the Games specifically, LOCOG often chose to foreground other designations – and seemed to downplay BP’s role as ‘sustainability partner’.  67   While it is impossible to discern the intention behind this shift, it is imaginable that the resistance LOCOG faced in response to their partnership with Dow Chemicals, and in the aftermath of BP’s involvement in the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill, the organizing committee may have intended to avoid drawing attention to any seemingly hollow or controversial sponsorships. In fact, in their own report in 2011, The Commission for Sustainable London (CSL) publicly critiqued LOCOG’s sustainability partner designation as “simply a revenue raising exercise,” and further recommended that similar initiatives demand more explicit commitments from partners so that corporations “earns the right rather than just paying for it” (CSL, 2012, p. 3). Further, one of the thirteen commissioners, Meredith Alexander, resigned from the commission in January, 2012 – citing discomfort with LOCOG’s patronage to their partnership with Dow Chemicals (cf. Alexander, 2012). This resignation gained widespread media coverage, drawing attention to LOCOG’s relationships with seemingly controversial corporations. It is possible that BP’s involvement in the program was downplayed as it had the potential to come across as egregious to celebrate an oil company as a champion of sustainability when the company had a recent environmental disaster in their repertoire.  At other times BP’s involvement in the Games was simply omitted. For example, in the key Sustainability Report issued in 2011 (LOCOG, 2011b), BP was listed among the Sustainability Partners and highlighted as a contributor to the cultural Olympiad. However, the company’s contribution to carbon compensation was omitted entirely. In a section on carbon compensation, LOCOG offered the following description of the initiatives being developed for carbon offsetting: “a number of London 2012 commercial partners are developing carbon offset projects specifically related to their Games involvement (p. 50).” In this instance, it seemed 68  peculiar that BP was not mentioned, as they were in fact the only commercial partner who developed an offset project. Another example of a similar omission occurred in the 2012 Pre-Games Sustainability Report Summary (LOCOG, 2012b), where I found that BP was not mentioned at all in the section on carbon management. Although, again, it is impossible to discern from the data set why this occurred, it is plausible that LOCOG wanted to: a) downplay to controversial practice of carbon offsetting, and/or; b) avoid drawing attention to the company that they had selected to lead these efforts.   It is also difficult to discern why, in the post-Games report, LOCOG returned to its earlier practice of featuring BP (LOCOG, 2012e). Perhaps LOCOG felt it was important in the post-Games report to be more specific about the activities of its Sustainability Partners, with BP being perhaps one of the more productive and high profile performers in this regard. It is also possible that LOCOG was less concerned post-Games about negative attention about BP’s involvement, with the Games completed and public attention moved elsewhere. Although it is impossible to determine the reasoning behind these shifts, it is clear that LOCOG’s framing of BP ebbed and flowed over time and context. While there were moments where LOCOG seemed proud to celebrate their partnership with BP (such as within their first annual report), there were others when BP’s involvement was omitted or positioned quite differently. Although the method of this study did not include specific investigation into why these shifts took place, it is possible that these adjustments represented LOCOG’s responsiveness to external conditions, pressures from those evaluating the Games sustainability-related impacts, or public opinion in the lead up to and during the Games. 69   Underlying assumptions In the following sections, I discuss the stated and implicit assumptions that underpinned LOCOG’s justifications for, and framings of their partnership with BP. Specifically, I highlight the ways that LOCOG foregrounded and privileged the idea that corporate collaboration and expertise are essential for solving environmental problems associated with hosting the Olympics – and how corporate partners like BP are reliable ‘experts’ that can support Games-related sustainability efforts.  4.2.1 Collaboration as a Strategy for Dealing with Environmental Problems The Organizing Committee placed collaboration at the heart of their planning and delivery strategy, and framed the Games as a ‘meeting of minds’. In attempting to host the ‘first ever sustainable Games’, LOCOG formed partnerships with intergovernmental organizations, academics, independent assurance bodies, environmental non-government organizations (NGO’s), and transnational corporations. Sustainability was best approached, according to LOCOG, through collective buy-in from multiple parties and a collaborative sharing of best practices. From early documents, such as the 2007 Sustainability Policy, LOCOG stressed the importance of collaboration in pursuing goals around environmental sustainability: Management and Delivery of Sustainability: Developing active partnerships with non-Governmental organizations, community groups, businesses, professional bodies and academia to help leverage the opportunities provided by the Games and to utilize the power of the Olympic brand to mobilize enthusiasm and maximize benefits (LOCOG, 2007b, p. 61).  Although collaboration is perhaps an unsurprising strategy when attempting to deliver a mega-scale sporting event, LOCOG framed it as a key strategy towards delivering a sustainable 70  Olympics. For example, within a section titled ‘working with sponsors’ in their initial Sustainability Plan (2007d) LOCOG made this point:  While sponsors and official suppliers have made important contributions to environmental programmes of previous Olympic and Paralympic Games, never before has this theme been such an important theme for Games sponsorship. Since London won the right to host the 2012 Games, there has been a step change in corporate activity in the field of sustainability and this presents exciting opportunities to showcase new initiatives, practices and technologies. […].  With the assistance and goodwill of a wide range of partners, we will strive to improve our performance over the coming years, and to realize our shared aspirations (p. 57). Collaboration was offered as a specific strategy in the pursuit of sustainability and a formula for sustainable development. This approach foregrounded certain groups as having relevant expertise in the area, and worthy of consultation.   LOCOG formed multiple and complex relationships with many groups and referred to them often throughout their PR documents. The organizing committee consistently foregrounded consultation and collaboration as key strategies in pursuing the ‘World’s first sustainable Games’. One such strategy was LOCOG’s formation of, and reliance on, advisory groups. These advisory groups, as discussed earlier, were comprised of “specialists from universities, businesses (including London 2012 commercial partners), NGO’s and Government” (LOCOG, 2008b, p. 9). LOCOG offered these groups as sources of expertise, where they could go to “seek advice on various aspects” related to sustainability and waste management (LOCOG, 2012a, p. 4). In this sense, LOCOG framed these advisory groups as bodies of expert knowledge – i.e., knowledge beyond that possessed by members of the Organizing Committee. Moreover, in delivering a sustainable Games, LOCOG also framed collaborations – like these advisory groups – as a strategy for accessing information regarding best practices. 71  Community engagement was also a significant initiative in this regard. Many of the community engagement projects celebrated within LOCOG’s documents were actually led by the ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority), or LDA (London Development Agency) – the most celebrated of which was the ODA’s London 2012 Programme, which aimed to “include Londoners, especially those from the host boroughs, with a deliberate focus on providing a voice to targeted groups of traditionally excluded people” (LOCOG, 2012b, p.64). However, this collaborative programme, as with many of the collaborations highlighted throughout LOCOG’s texts, seemed largely unidirectional in nature. That is to say, many of the programmes were centered on informing the public, rather than ‘providing a voice’ to traditionally excluded groups. Quarterly ‘community meetings’ for example, were aimed at providing updates, and the London 2012 Programme concentrated on ODA members “sharing knowledge and experience” with community members, and “provided opportunities for communities and stakeholders to hear about progress on the Park” (LOCOG, 2012b, p. 64). There was little evidence that early plans for public consultation and engagement with local communities had taken place.  Relatedly, and while early on LOCOG spoke about the importance of collaboration with community and environmental groups, these partnerships gave way over time. For example, LOCOG’s bid was structured around the concept of “towards a one planet Olympics” which was developed in conjunction with two NGO’s, the World Wildlife Foundation and Bioregional (LOCOG, 2005). This was borne out of the concept of ‘one planet’ living – that was itself developed by these NGOs – which involves ten principles of sustainable development such as zero-waste, equity, local economy, and local and sustainable food procurement. When 72  comparing the 2007 Sustainability Plan (LOCOG, 2007d) with the 2009 Sustainability Plan (LOCOG, 2009b), the concept was taken up in very different ways. While both documents are titled ‘Towards a One Planet 2012’, the later document mentioned these NGOs only once. While these organizations were highlighted as “joint originators” of a concept that defined the Games during bid and early planning phases, they were altogether ignored by 2011 (LOCOG, 2007d, p. 56).  In fact, in these later documents, the One Planet concept came to symbolize corporate collaboration above all else. LOCOG used the concept to describe the initiatives of the Sustainability Partner’s programme and outlined plans for six ‘One Planet Pavilions’ – one for each sustainability partner. Although these pavilions proved to be too expensive and were scrapped in favor of the Olympic ‘Walk in the Park’ – this change in discourse was representative of the way LOCOG foregrounded corporate collaboration as essential to staging a successful and ‘sustainable’ Olympic event. Specifically, LOCOG placed corporate collaboration at the center of their sustainability program – an exceptional approach as outlined earlier. As I will argue later in this document, this approach was problematic as it championed organizations with a stake in industry-friendly approaches to environmentalism as leading experts in a sustainable sport movement.  4.2.2. Innovation and Technological Development as Key Solutions to Sport Related Environmental Problems The second underlying assumption expressed in LOCOG’s public relations texts was that industry-driven innovation and technological developments were key solutions to sport-related environmental problems (I return to focus on the ‘industry-driven’ piece in the next section). 73  Firstly, LOCOG espoused ‘technological optimism’ – frequently citing technology and innovation as the most appropriate solutions to environmental problems. Secondly, LOCOG framed businesses as the primary source of sustainable innovation, and relied on their corporate allies for technologies aimed at facilitating their sustainable Games. Alternative sources of sustainable innovation (such as academia, the public, and environmental NGOs) were largely ignored. Finally, LOCOG’s reliance on BP for ‘advanced fuels’ and carbon offsetting provided a telling example of the kind of innovation preferred by LOCOG – that is, innovation which promoted continued economic growth. In what follows, I will outline how LOCOG framed technology as the solution to environmental problems, and privileged a certain form of industry led innovation.  As discussed earlier, the Organizing Committee offered the Olympics as an unparalleled showcase for sustainable living. According to LOCOG, the primary difference between the London Games and any other was the innovative way that sustainability was integrated throughout planning and delivery. While the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) focused on innovative design technologies and sustainable sourcing, LOCOG centered their delivery on inspiring local and global citizens to live more sustainably. From bid proposal through to post-Games reports, LOCOG consistently acknowledged that climate change was a real and serious threat that required immediate action. As discussed earlier, LOCOG’s strategy for dealing with this threat was to inspire widespread behaviour change.  LOCOG attempted to inspire more environmentally sustainable behaviour by offering the London Olympics as a “blueprint for sustainable living” (LOCOG, 2007b, p.1; 2007d, p. 9). With the Olympic Park as a centerpiece, this ‘blueprint’ foregrounded technological innovation 74  as the most appropriate solution to environmental problems, and as a key strategy toward a sustainable future. Within their public relations texts, the organizers similarly promoted technology and innovation as a strategy for mitigating the environmental problems associated with the Games.  Specifically, of the five sustainability themes set out by the organizing committee – climate change, waste, biodiversity, inclusion and healthy living – the three related to the environment (climate change, waste and biodiversity) were approached primarily through technology and innovation. Addressing climate change involved a series of technologies aimed at reducing carbon emissions (including BP’s advanced fuels and engine oils), and biodiversity was encouraged through soil washing technology (LOCOG, 2007d). Put simply, innovation – and, as I discuss in the next section, primarily corporate-led innovation – was LOCOG’s primary strategy for both achieving and promoting environmental sustainability within mega-event delivery, and addressing the environmental issues associated with delivery.  LOCOG framed innovation as strategy to keep up with the rapidly changing demands of climate change – during Games time and beyond. Mandated from the first sustainability plan (2007d), LOCOG stressed the need to keep up with best practices: Sustainability itself is a rapidly evolving discipline; new methods and technologies are continually being developed. As we move from preparing for the Games, to staging them, to converting venues and facilities for legacy uses we need to be able to respond to new situations and take advantage of new practices. For these reasons we are committed to a process of continual improvement and welcome feedback from and dialogue with interested stakeholders to help us achieve the best outcomes for sustainability throughout this project (p. 5).  Bridging the key assumptions underlying LOCOG’s approach to sustainability and BP’s role within it, LOCOG also often highlighted collaboration as a first step toward addressing 75  environmental issues, and a way to access leading technologies. These collaborations frequently resulted in LOCOG agreeing to showcase a ‘leading edge’ technology, often in an experimental capacity – as was the case with BP’s advanced fuels. Even though LOCOG acknowledged that these technologies could not immediately resolve all of the environmental problems associated with hosting (LOCOG, 2012e), they offered them as inspiring models of a sustainable future. This technological-optimism foreground industry as a key player in creating this imagined future      Innovation comes from business As a common approach to environmental sustainability, and sustainable development in particular, it is perhaps unsurprising that LOCOG foregrounded innovation and technology as key strategies toward solving environmental problems. However, significantly, nearly all of the technologies utilized and featured by LOCOG were sourced from their commercial partners. While this likely had to do with budget constraints and cost minimization, the result was that LOCOG framed businesses as the primary source of sustainable innovation and provided a substantial platform for businesses to market a specific interpretation of sustainability. By promoting corporations as experts in sustainability throughout their PR texts, and by specifically relying on corporate allies for technologies which were showcased as solutions to environmental problems, LOCOG foregrounded industry as the source for sustainable innovation.  As discussed earlier, the Organizing Committee championed corporations as key experts in sustainability, stating that they “play[ed] a major role in delivering the sustainability objectives” (LOCOG, 2007d, p. 57). This role involved marketing the sustainability messaging of 76  the Games, and supplying technologies aimed at modeling a sustainable future. It was suggested that mitigating climate change could be achieved, at least in part, through partnerships with corporations such as BP, and that these corporations were at the leading edge of sustainable innovation. The Sustainability Partner program was a key example of LOCOG’s reliance on industry for technological solutions. For example, BWM provided over 4000 vehicles, showcasing their lower emission ‘M110 passenger vehicles’ and a number of electric vehicles. While it was later determined that only 200, or roughly 5% of these vehicles would be electric, these vehicles were celebrated as innovative “CO2 saving technologies” (LOCOG, 2011b, p. 87). In conjunction with BP’s brand of ‘Ultimate Fuels’ and ‘advanced biofuels’ made from ‘energy grasses’ and ‘smart molecules’, these technologies were framed as ‘solutions’ to reducing the impact of Games related ground transportation. Again, while only 40 Games vehicles, or less than 1% were powered by BP’s advanced biofuels, LOCOG’s framing suggested that the Games was a location where the future of sustainable transport could be showcased. This effectively framed these corporations as key players in a sustainable future.  LOCOG’s reliance on businesses for sustainable technology and innovation was telling when considering that alternative sources of sustainable innovation (such as academia, the public, and environmental NGO’s) were largely overlooked. As discussed earlier, LOCOG centered collaboration as strategy for achieving a sustainable Games, and formed a number of advisory panels to help guide strategies for mitigating the environmental impacts associated with hosting. However, throughout their PR documents, the technologies that were consistently highlighted were corporate initiatives. While this was not necessarily the case for the ODA, LOCOG offered large-scale, industry led innovations as leading-edge best practices. 77  Not only did this frame technology and innovation as the most appropriate solution to environmental problems, but suggested that businesses were leaders in sustainable innovation. In fact, LOCOG offered such innovations as justification for their partnership with corporations such as BP, as resources such as oil and gas are required to host a large-scale event. However, these corporations were also given preference in LOCOG’s showcase of a ‘blueprint for sustainable living’. In this sense, LOCOG framed corporations as important and necessary catalysts for a sustainable future.    In a similar vein, LOCOG consistently described the Sustainability Partners program vaguely – as a collaborative effort to promote sustainable living – with little indication of what was meant by ‘sustainable living’, or how this was to be promoted by the group or individual partners (like BP). For example in LOCOG’s 2009 Sustainability Plan (2009b), the following description of the program was offered: We know that by working together with our marketing partners, we can reach more people. To make this easier, London 2012 has created an additional marketing rights designation of Sustainability Partner. Together, our six Sustainability Partners: BMW, BP, BT, Cisco, EDF Energy and GE are looking to inspire a step change in sustainable living through their own products and expertise. While the parameters of the program became marginally more specific over time, in a post Games ‘Learning Legacy’ (2013a) designed to review the program, LOCOG acknowledged that the “lack of definition of the sustainability partner designation created confusion among stakeholders as well as the general public.” Regardless, based on the centrality of sustainability in LOCOG’s marketing and branding efforts, and in contrast to the nearly fifty other Olympic sponsors, the program was a substantial platform from which LOCOG framed BP as a partner to the Games, and industry as the key driver of innovation. 78     A certain kind of innovation: Growth and development over reduction Finally, LOCOG’s reliance on BP for ‘advanced fuels’ and carbon offsetting provided a telling example of the kind of innovation preferred by LOCOG – that is, innovation, which promoted continued growth and development over substantial change. In their public relations documents, for example, LOCOG privileged innovation that came from industry. In this case then the innovation that was being pursued required little change to current patterns of production and consumption. In turn, it was also assumed, perhaps unsurprisingly, that although there are inevitable environmental problems associated with mega-events, the existence of continuation of the Games is never to be in question.  LOCOG offered a number of carbon reduction strategies to mitigate the emissions they could control (such as ‘sustainable sourcing’), but offered BP’s Target Neutral programme as an appropriate final tool for neutralizing those ‘inherent’ to Games delivery. In their post-Games sustainability report, LOCOG articulated the inevitability of these emissions, and highlighted the role of offsetting:    There is little that London 2012 could have done to impact directly on the majority of the spectator travel footprint as it was largely made up of air travel by overseas visitors. To try and compensate for the carbon arising from these journeys and increase awareness of the carbon impact of travel, London 2012 sustainability partner BP Target Neutral initiated free carbon offsetting to spectators and teams arising from travel. (LOCOG, 2012e, p.23). By framing the size and global audience of the Games as inevitable, LOCOG negates the option of a smaller, more local Olympics. Although travel emissions could have been reduced if stadiums were less grand, or more tickets were reserved for local citizens, the scale and global 79  nature of the Games is never questioned. Change was offered only so far as to maintain business as usual, and this innovation required only a shuffling of emissions – no change in behavior (except nominal changes among spectators – e.g., around recycling and the use of public transport). Similarly, partnerships with companies such as BMW promoted continued fuel consumption, just of a different kind. Although LOCOG promoted alternative forms of transportation, they only formed partnerships with BMW, and therefor only showcased automotive technologies.  4.2.3 Growth and Progress on Environmental Issues are Compatible “We committed not only to put on the biggest sporting event in the world, but to host the world’s first truly sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games” Sebastian Coe, LOCOG’s Chair Sustainability Report: A Blueprint for Change, LOCOG 2011b, p.4.  Linked to the previous point is my finding that throughout LOCOG’s PR documents, LOCOG framed growth and development as compatible with progress on environmental issues – relationships that are perhaps assumed in contemporary uses of the sustainability concept. While LOCOG spoke often and early about the centrality of sustainability in their planning and delivery, they also regularly framed sustainability in terms of “value for money” and outlined their intention to deliver a large-scale mega-event (LOCOG 2007d, p. 13, 44; Post-Games Sustainability Report, LOCOG 2012e, p.41). The idea that environmental problems can be resolved without moving away from the pursuit of continued growth and development was evidenced throughout LOCOG’s PR texts. That is to say, LOCOG committed to placing environmental stewardship at the center of their approach while also committing to deliver growth, development and an economic legacy. 80  Throughout their public relations texts, the organizing committee rather successfully communicated concern over the environmental impacts of the games, and also offered to have the solutions. These solutions were often framed as simultaneously good for ecology and economy – or what LOCOG termed ‘value for money’. I have listed a number of examples below:   “Budgets must be respected: value for money does not mean lowering ambitions to achieve the lowest costs, but economic viability (and the added value that can be achieved through sustainable procurement) must be seen as an integral part of overall sustainability (Sustainability Plan, LOCOG, 2007d, p. 13).”  “Sustainability was an essential part of LOCOG’s definition of value for money. We recognized this had to be a central consideration at all times alongside commercial, legal and quality criteria. Real value embraces risk mitigation, reputation enhancement, forward thinking and recognition that sustainability will not lead to significant cost increases if the requirements are made clear at the outset. Our procurement methods and processes were also set up as a means to deliver in excess of £75m savings against budget.” (Post-Games Sustainability Report, LOCOG, 2012e, December, p. 41) The above examples illustrate how LOCOG framed sustainability as compatible and interdependent with financial cost saving. In their Post-Games Learning Legacy on sustainable procurement, LOCOG worked against the assumption that striving for sustainability would lead to increase costs, saying “the popular view is that achieving sustainability adds cost, although in practice LOCOG saw little evidence of this” (LOCOG, 2013a, p. 12). This aligns strongly with the tenants of sustainable development discussed earlier, and in fact in the opening paragraph of LOCOG’s first Sustainability plan, LOCOG stated this explicitly: “This vision and the strategic objectives for the Games are underpinned by the principles of ‘sustainable development’ (2007b, p.1).” 81   A number of the sustainability initiatives enacted for the Games were framed in a way that highlighted their financial cost savings. For example, the re-use and resale of materials after the Games were highlighted as successes in terms of cost saving, waste prevention and carbon compensation (Post-Games Sustainability Report, LOCOG, 2012e, p. 43). LOCOG explicitly outlined the financial savings from sustainability initiatives in their Post-Games Sustainability Report (2012e). It read: Sustainability was an integral part of this delivery and, as highlighted above, has demonstrated considerable added value. Direct financial benefits included: – Enhanced commercial sponsorship programme – Significant cost savings through resource conservation measures – Significant cost benefits through asset disposal and the reuse and recycling of waste materials This has been achieved by making sustainability in its full sense an integral part of our commercial, procurement and employment programmes from the start. This has allowed us to make informed choices on goods and services to achieve value for money. (p. 43). Placing sustainability at the center of their planning, according to LOCOG, had positive outcomes related to financial growth that were worth replicating. In their own words: “the key lesson is that upfront commitment and investment in sustainability will pay major dividends over the lifetime of a project, both in direct cost savings and wider socio-economic benefits” (Post-Games Sustainability Report, LOCOG, 2012e, p. 44).  Interestingly, this strategy (placing sustainability at the center of planning) was also framed as a powerful attractor for commercial sponsors, and thereby a good way to attain investment. In addition to the quote listed above, LOCOG recognized this in their first Sustainability Report (2011b) saying that “sustainability continues to be a key factor in sponsorship deals. This works both in respect of managing risk and leveraging the value of 82  commercial partnerships” (P. 61). The success of this strategy was reflected on explicitly in LOCOG’s post-games sustainability report (2012e): Sustainability was an integral component of the process of recruiting commercial Marketing Partners. This worked two ways: we ensured that sustainability was a visible part of the offer and included in contract (just like for conventional supplier deals through our procurement programme), while for many of the prospective Partners it was an important part of their pitch to become a London 2012 sponsor. One Partner to our knowledge commissioned an independent sustainability audit of LOCOG before they committed to the deal. It was clear in this case (and we suspect a number of others) that the strong sustainability credentials of the London 2012 programme were a determining factor in securing the sponsorship deal (p. 40).  Commercial partners played a key role in contributing to the economic wellbeing of the organizing committee as well as LOCOG’s initiatives around sustainability. Highlighting the dual benefit, LOCOG reflected on this fondly in their Post-Games Sustainability Report (2012e):  Overall, many London 2012 sponsors engaged in the sustainability programme and provided significant input in terms of innovative goods and services, modified or updated processes and packaging solutions, and contribution of knowledge and expertise. All this contributed to a significant economic boost to the London 2012 programme and in the wider economy (p. 41).  It is clear to see from the above examples that LOCOG adhered to the idea that economic growth and progress on environmental issues are compatible, and even interdependent. This suggests, in alignment with the tenets of sustainable development, that environmental problems can be resolved alongside continued pursuit of continued growth and development. LOCOG was able to deliver what Sebastian Coe was tasked with, delivering the biggest sporting event in the World, and achieving sustainability in such a way that the Games could act as a ‘blueprint for sustainable living’ (2007d, p. 9). According to LOCOG, placing environmental stewardship at the center of their delivery and approach was a key strategy in delivering this grand project, and saving money.  83   It should be noted that LOCOG made a point to highlight an instance when priorities around sustainability took precedent over cost savings, and seemed to suggest that there were times when it was necessary to spend more money to reach environmental goals. In an address by LOCOG’s Chief Executive Paul Deighton (quoted in the Pre-Games Sustainability Report, 2012b), this tension was revealed: Our integrated approach to sustainability has usually achieved strong alignment with financial goals and we have seen significant business benefits through enhanced sponsorship deals, material specifications and post-Games re-use considerations. Sometimes, however, we have had to make a conscious business decision to spend more to meet sustainability concerns. One example of this was the decision to fit particulate filters to a number of temporary power generators, where the potential impacts of emissions and noise on workforce, local residents and/or schools merited the extra cost. I am proud that we have taken this step and I hope it will prove an important step forward for the temporary power market (p. 10). This recognition, while interesting, was presented as an exception and did little to counter the dominant narrative presented by LOCOG.  4.2.4 The Games Must Go On  The final key assumption observed throughout LOCOG’s PR documents was that delivery of the Games was definite – that the Games would go on no matter the environmental costs. Despite acknowledging climate change and the environmental impacts associated with hosting, the Games themselves, nor their grand scale, were ever in question. In fact, as mentioned throughout this document, the Games were framed as an unparalleled showcase of sustainable living, or in LOCOG’s words, a “blueprint for sustainable living” (LOCOG, 2007d, p. 9). Despite at times acknowledging the inevitable environmental impact of the Games, LOCOG made a case for why the Games must go on. This case involved presenting negative environmental impacts as inevitable, and more importantly, providing a boost in civic inspiration toward sustainable 84  living as a means to ‘offset’ any impacts.  As the first of LOCOG’s five sustainability themes (along with waste, biodiversity, inclusion and healthy living), LOCOG often acknowledged climate change, and at times went to great lengths to explain the seriousness of the climate problem. Below are a few examples:  “There is now a strong scientific consensus, both on the severity of the threat that climate change poses to our lives and lifestyles, and on the role played by greenhouse gases, and in particular carbon dioxide, in pushing global temperatures higher.” (Sustainability Policy, LOCOG, 2007b, p. 15).   “The consensus of scientists spanning over 130 countries is now overwhelming: human activities are causing global climate change. The burning of fossil fuels, changes in land use, and various industrial processes are adding heat and trapping gases, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), to the atmosphere. There is now roughly 40 percent more CO2 in the atmosphere than there was before the industrial revolution. Such high levels have not been experienced on earth for at least 800,000 years and in all likelihood not for the last three million years. The effects of these additional greenhouse gases can already be seen today. Global average temperatures have risen by 0.75°C since about 1900 with consequences for both the environment and people’s lives.” (Sustainability Plan, LOCOG, 2009b, p. 15) Descriptions of the sweeping global consensus offered by scientists, as well as words such as severity and threat, are accompanied here with admissions that climate change has human causes.  Recognition of the climate problem was also apparent in LOCOG’s selection and framing of their core delivery concept ‘Towards a One Planet Olympics’. This concept was derived from the concept of ‘One Planet Living’ (LOCOG, 2005; Sustainability Policy, LOCOG 2007d), which states that humans are using resources far beyond the limit that our planet can sustain. As LOCOG worded it: “if everybody in the world lived the same lifestyle as we do in the UK, we would need three planets’ worth of resources to support us” (Sustainability Plan, 2009b, p. 5). LOCOG used this concept to outline the ways in which sustainability was integrated throughout 85  their Games, and the importance of limiting resource use. However, the question of whether the Games should be held, or at minimum, held on a smaller scale to use fewer resources was not up for debate here.  Importantly, LOCOG consistently acknowledged that some level of environmental impact was inherent to the delivery of the Games. LOCOG maintained that “elevated carbon emissions [were] an inevitable consequence of staging any world-class event” (LOCOG 2013b, p. 16). They offered a number of carbon reduction strategies to mitigate the emissions they could control (such as ‘sustainable sourcing’), and offered BP’s Target Neutral programme as an appropriate final tool for neutralizing those ‘inherent’ to Games delivery. In their post-Games sustainability report, LOCOG articulated the inevitability of these emissions, and highlighted the role of offsetting:    There is little that London 2012 could have done to impact directly on the majority of the spectator travel footprint as it was largely made up of air travel by overseas visitors. To try and compensate for the carbon arising from these journeys and increase awareness of the carbon impact of travel, London 2012 sustainability partner BP Target Neutral initiated free carbon offsetting to spectators and teams. This captured more than 500,000 individual return journeys, offsetting more than 99,000 tonnes of CO2e arising from travel (Post-Games Sustainability Report, LOCOG, 2012e, p.23).   Here, we see LOCOG making a case that they have done all they can to mitigate the carbon emissions inherent in the Games delivery. However, the impact of the spectator footprint could have been mitigated if the traditional delivery model was altered, or the Games were not held. In making these emissions seem inevitable, LOCOG makes the case that these Games were as well.  The Organizing Committee consistently acknowledged that some level of environmental impact was inherent to the delivery of the Games, but perhaps, most interestingly, framed the 86  resulting boost in individual ‘sustainable behaviour’ as a way to offset, or justify these impact. The following excerpt from the Post-Games Sustainability Report exemplifies this narrative well: Many people might blanch at the idea of so much one-off resource use and disruption alongside the notion of sustainability. There is something paradoxical about it. But that is before one considers the power of the Games to stimulate an enormous amount of positive and lasting change. Provided the latter can outweigh the former then it is worth doing. Our job was to make that balance work. We saw London 2012 as a unique opportunity to demonstrate sustainability on an unprecedented scale. For a start it was a one-off chance to display the UK’s leadership on sustainability to a global audience. Secondly, it was an opportunity to reach vast numbers of people who wouldn’t otherwise be engaged by conventional sustainability campaigns; and finally, there is something about sport’s values that make an outstanding platform for promoting sustainable behaviour (Post-Games Sustainability Report, 2012e, p. 10) This directly counteracts the concept of One Planet Living as discussed earlier. Hosting could not be compromised and nor should the traditional model of a mega-scale event.  LOCOG offered civic inspiration toward sustainability as a key objective of their Games, of the Sustainability Partners programme, and as a way to offset unavoidable emissions. LOCOG also offered this perceived boost in civic inspiration as a broad justification for hosting the Games, and as an avenue to ‘offset’ any negative impacts that couldn’t be mitigated through other means. In fact, LOCOG used the scale and reach of the Games, and its potential for widespread inspiration as method of compensating for these negative impacts. Specifically:  The uniqueness of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in terms of scale and reach does, however, offer opportunities for different approaches to compensate for unavoidable emissions. Instead of relying on conventional carbon offsetting schemes, the power of the Games to inspire change opens up a range of possible opportunities, such as community projects; behavioural change initiatives; market shaping through supply chain interventions and promotion of innovation and best practices; and knowledge transfer. [..]. Furthermore, we believe that the cumulative benefits of the legacy developments, wider adoption of our methods and practices, and behavioural change initiatives will fully justify our ambition to deliver a truly sustainable Games (Sustainability Plan, LOCOG, 2009b, p. 16)  87  LOCOG acknowledged the negative environmental impacts of hosting the Olympics, and simultaneously offered public awareness and civic inspiration as a method to offset these impacts. The company framed climate change as ‘everyone’s responsibility’ and concluded many sections on the threat of climate change with discussion around how the Games would “contribute to raising awareness and changing public attitudes locally, within the UK and internationally” (LOCOG, 2007d). This potential boost in global sustainable behavior was a key part of LOCOG’s storyline that the Games should, and in fact must go on despite the acknowledged negative environmental consequences.   88  Chapter 5: Discussion  In the previous section, I outlined the ways that LOCOG framed BP as a ‘special partner’ to the Games with specific and important expertise related to sustainability and technology, and an important role to play in inspiring sustainable behaviour. I described the ways that corporate collaboration and expertise were framed as essential for solving the environmental problems associated with hosting – and how LOCOG foregrounded corporate partners like BP as reliable ‘experts’ in these efforts. I also highlighted the nuanced and complex ways that LOCOG moved BP in and out of their PR spotlight.  In the following section, I discuss how these findings inform, and are informed by, existing literature on ecological modernization, public relations, and post-politics. I stress the unique ways in which LOCOG appeared to be responsive to public critique and foreground the central role that PR played in allowing contradictory messages to sit alongside one another. Finally, I conclude with reflections on how corporate-friendly forms of environmentalism were privileged and negotiated, and what this tells us about power relations, inequality and post-political forms of environmental management. In doing so, I identify this study’s implications and contributions to the field.  The Trend Continues: Ongoing Prioritization of Sustainable Solutions and Ecological Modernist Principles  It is perhaps unsurprising that LOCOG promoted an approach to environmental problems that aligned closely with the tenants of sustainable development. LOCOG suggested that they could host a spectacular mega-event that would benefit the natural environment and simultaneously create social and economic benefits for the host city and country. In fact, as 89  mentioned earlier, LOCOG championed this approach on the first page of their earliest Sustainability Policy (LOCOG, 2007b), outlining that “this vision and the strategic objectives for the Games are underpinned by the principles of ‘sustainable development’” (p. 1). The organizing committee offered the Games as a successful model or ‘blueprint for sustainable living’ – an example of how economic growth and mega-development could be achieved alongside environmental stewardship. They also looked to provide solutions for socio-economic disparity through programs such as their Young Leaders initiative as discussed earlier, or their reframing of East London from an ‘industrial wasteland’ into a hyper-modern illustration of sustainable development. This sustainable development approach has been standard practice for Olympic organizers of late (Hayes & Horne, 2011; Karamichas, 2013), and LOCOG has been praised for executing the most sustainable Games in history (BBC, 2012; Commission for a Sustainable London, 2013; Shankleman, 2012). However, as noted in my review of literature, scholars like Hayes and Horne (2011) have taken issue with these sorts of portrayals, and critiqued LOCOG’s approach to sustainable development for its top-down approach to social inclusion – or in other words, for offering a hollowed out form of social development, weakening the claim to a ‘triple bottom line’.  Perhaps also unsurprisingly, LOCOG’s approach to environmentalism, reflected in the PR documents analyzed, aligned closely with the guiding principles of ecological modernization (EM) – a finding that is akin to those outlined in recent studies by Karamichas (2013) and Wilson and Millington (2013, 2015). While LOCOG consistently acknowledged the importance of climate change and the environmental problems associated with hosting, they also suggested 90  that these problems could – and were – being appropriately managed through economic, technological, and technocratic solutions. If we accept Hajer’s (1996) assertion that EM centers on the notion that “economic growth and the resolution of ecological problems can, in principle, be reconciled” (p. 248), then it is not difficult to see how (and perhaps why) LOCOG would adopt a framework that allowed claims of environmental sustainability and mega-scale development to sit alongside one another.  LOCOG’s framing of their partnership with BP helped to illuminate the ways that LOCOG foregrounded environmental solutions that involved collaborations with businesses, and faith in the technological innovations that businesses could provide. As discussed earlier, LOCOG mobilized specialty partnership designations such as ‘Sustainability Partner’ and “Official Carbon Offset Partner’ to frame BP as an important partner with expertise related to sustainable energy, fuel production and carbon offsetting. Analysis into this partnership, and specifically the Sustainability Partners program, uncovered how LOCOG centered economic and technological solutions to environmental problems – a key tenant of EM according to Christoff (1996). Language paid a particularly important role in this framing, as LOCOG foregrounded technical semantics like ‘advanced biofuels’, ‘energy grasses’ and ‘smart molecules’ in their descriptions of solutions to the environmental impacts of Games-related ground transportation. In light of these particular findings, it is worth noting that LOCOG is in this instance open to critiques by scholars such as Homer Dixon –  who warn of an ‘ingenuity gap’ in which technology and innovation are not sufficient to tackle the environmental challenges associated with progress and modernity. LOCOG’s reliance on BP for carbon offsetting of 91  residual emissions, or eventual default to traditional fuels to power their Games vehicles, suggests that their technological solutions did indeed fall short.    I would argue that while these findings related to an EM framework were perhaps unsurprising, there are a number of novel aspects to LOCOG’s particular approach to promoting and privileging sustainability and EM that are worthy of exploration. Firstly, the analysis of LOCOG’s public relations texts revealed how certain PR strategies appeared to be designed to frame LOCOG’s approach to environmentalism as more democratic, more ecological, and more systematic than previous Games. In doing so, there was implicit acknowledgement by LOCOG that there was a need to improve on the performance of previous Games – and that LOCOG was taking the lead. For example, specific claims to the centrality of environmentalism in each of their planning stages gave the impression that LOCOG had moved beyond greenwashing the Games, and toward a more holistic, darker green approach. Naming their first Sustainability Report ‘A Blueprint for Change’ suggested that Olympic delivery needed to be moved forward, and that LOCOG knew the way. Key commitments to “not only to put on the biggest sporting event in the world, but to host the world’s first truly sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games” by LOCOG’s chair, reiterated this point (LOCOG 2011b, p.4).  While Lenskyj critiqued the 2000 Games in Sydney for largely ignoring the environmental best practices, LOCOG seemed to be making a case that their Games were a celebration of leading technology, and environmental best practices. This was largely accomplished through the propagation of an economic and technological rationale within public relations texts, and through centering industry-friendly technocrats (such as BP) as experts and partners in a sustainable sport movement. Further, LOCOG suggested that 92  integrating sustainability into all aspects of their planning and delivery could be simultaneously good for business and the environment. This was reiterated in their Post-Games Sustainability Report (2012e), as mentioned previously: “Sustainability was an essential part of LOCOG’s definition of value for money. We recognized this had to be a central consideration at all times alongside commercial, legal and quality criteria. Real value embraces risk mitigation, reputation enhancement, forward thinking and recognition that sustainability will not lead to significant cost increases if the requirements are made clear at the outset. Our procurement methods and processes were also set up as a means to deliver in excess of £75m savings against budget (p. 41)” The above example illustrates how LOCOG explicitly framed sustainability as compatible and interdependent with financial cost saving.  Secondly, while I demonstrated in my earlier review of literature why approaches to sustainability guided by EM may be problematic (including EM’s propensity to reduce the environment to economic terms as demonstrated above), what is also novel about this case is how LOCOG unabashedly privileged this EM narrative as a way of justifying their partnership with BP. To be clear, LOCOG celebrated and highlighted technological innovation by BP as a way of reconciling their selection of BP as a partner. While to many, their partnership with BP would appear largely economically-motivated, LOCOG utilized narratives around cutting-edge technologies, sustainability best practices, and innovation to justify their partnership with BP – or in other words, to equate ‘technological innovation’ and ‘partnerships with industry’ with ‘advancements in environmental sustainability’.  As mentioned previously, LOCOG’s reliance on corporations such as BP for sustainable technology and innovation was especially telling when considering that alternative sources of sustainable innovation (such as academia, the public, and environmental NGO’s) were largely 93  overlooked. Through specialty designations such as the Sustainability Partners program, nearly all of the technologies consistently highlighted within LOCOG’s PR texts were corporate initiatives. LOCOG offered large-scale, industry led innovations as leading-edge best practices. Not only did this mean framing technology and innovation as the most appropriate solution to environmental problems – but it also meant framing corporations as important and necessary catalysts for a sustainable future. Doing this, of course, was a way also of implicitly justifying BP’s involvement in the Games.  In the end, LOCOG’s partnership with BP stood as a telling example of how complex PR strategies can be mobilized to suggest that environmental problems associated with hosting could – and were – being appropriately managed through economic, technological, and technocratic solutions. Put simply, LOCOG rigorously foregrounded the idea that: a) consensus around the meaning of sustainability exists, and; b) that EM is the only acceptable approach to Olympic related environmental problems. In this sense, my findings align well with the work on the golf industry by Millington and Wilson (2013, 2016), who found that similar assumptions existed and were highlighted in the texts they studied.  Yet, at the same time, by focusing on discourse related to partnerships, this study went beyond the work by Millington and Wilson (2013, 2016). Specifically, by offering stakeholder arrangements and corporate expertise as a substitute for environmental regulation and fundament change, LOCOG expressed unanimity around the aptness of EM in the delivery the most sustainable Olympics to date. By framing their games as ‘a blueprint for sustainable living’, and foregrounding industry as experts on sustainability, and motivators toward sustainable behaviour, LOCOG suggested that they had succeeded in ‘solving’ the environmental problems 94  associated with hosting – and had done so guided by the taken-for-granted ecological modernist framework. The implications of this approach to environmentalism are not insignificant. Many scholars have remarked on the increasing homogeneity of Olympic environmental platforms, despite the changing context of host nations, cities and local communities (Pentifallo & VanWynsberghe, 2012). The danger in promoting this business-friendly approach to sustainability as the only legitimate approach is that it functions to curtail alternative models. While some see the adoption of environmentalism into the Olympic movement as something to celebrate, I would argue that the form of environmentalism offered by LOCOG potentially does more harm than good. By suggesting that there is limited (or no) contradiction in claiming that a mega-development, mega-scale event can be an example of sustainable living, LOCOG made a strong case that alternative approaches or perspectives were not necessary. In this model, environmental concerns can be mediated without moving away from the pursuit of continued growth and development. This contradicts leading scientists, environmentalists and scholars like Berger et al. (2001), Hajer (1996), and Foster (2012), who claim that environmental longevity will only come from significant and fundamental reform.  Furthermore, LOCOG’s sustainability narrative was highly accommodating of the capital-driven environmentalism championed by their corporate partners, and in this way LOCOG provided a platform for corporations such as BP to align their version of sustainability with the green legacy of the games. Similar to concerns raised by Connelly (2007), Davidson (2008) and others regarding the cooptation of sustainable development by those with market interests, 95  LOCOG offered BP a platform from which they could align their fragile public reputation with the ‘most sustainable Games in history’.  Wavering on BP: Analyzing PR Over Time and in Context As I outlined earlier, while much of LOCOG’s framing of BP remained fairly consistent, there were a number of moments when BP’s involvement seemed oddly absent, and thus my findings about LOCOG’s framing of BP were not entirely uniform. That is to say, and unique to this study, it appeared LOCOG manipulated their framing of BP as needed – which leads to questions about whether LOCOG was sensitive and reactive to public critiques of their partnership. While nuanced and transitory, this is a unique outcome of this project, and one that was not reflected in the literature informing this study. As I outline earlier, while at times LOCOG specifically highlighted or celebrated their partnership with BP (examples include an enlarged quote from BP CEO within the Director’s Report of LOCOG 2007-2008 annual report), at others, BP’s role was downplayed or omitted (examples include the way their contributions, such as Carbon Offset partner, were oddly absent from sections of the 2011 Sustainability Report).  Although the reasons for these altered frames cannot be known from the data collected for this thesis, this nuanced shuffling was significant, and while it would have been a cleaner storyline had LOCOG highlighted their partnership to BP before the oil spill and then cast them away afterwards – this wasn’t exactly the case. Still, there is something to be read from this analysis of PR in the sense that although LOCOG ultimately couldn’t or wouldn’t disparage or give up its association with BP, they at least subtly responded to it. As mentioned earlier, it is imaginable that in face of the opposition to their partnership with Dow Chemicals, and during 96  the climate of public outrage toward BP in the aftermath of their oil spill, that the organizing committee would have benefitted from avoiding attention to this particularly controversial sponsorship.  This finding reveals, I would argue, that there is a need to attend to public relations campaigns over time – something that those who study sport mega-events have tended not to do (Wilson and Millington, 2013, 2015). If PR is a process, as cited by Cutlip, Center and Broom (1985), then we should treat it as such, and pay close attention to the ways that framing can bob and weave across time and context.   Sustaining what and for whom? Post-political Environmentalism and LOCOG  As discussed earlier, public relations resolves to generate legitimacy for particular points of view, and is often utilized by organizations, corporations and politicians to frame particular interpretations of societal issues. The role of PR is to frame issues in such a way that the position of the organization is reinforced, and the validity of other perspectives is challenged or dismissed (Edwards, 2012). I have argued that LOCOG foregrounded particular interpretations of environmental sustainability that were consistent with ecological modernist perspectives throughout their Olympic related PR campaigns.  The findings from this thesis lend credence to arguments made by philosophers like Žižek (1998), Rancière (2006), and Swyngedouw (2007; 2010) who see the current historical moment as a ‘post-political’ moment, where contentious societal issues are framed as ‘no longer existing’ – as ‘we all now apparently agree’ on what needs to take place to deal with agreed upon problems like racism, sexism, and, in this case, environmental problems. Swyngedouw describes post-politics as “a politics in which ideological or dissensual 97  contestation and struggles are replaced by techno-managerial planning, expert management and administration” (2010, p.225). Within this consensual political situation then, scientific and technological expertise becomes hegemonic, and debate is only tolerated in so far as the dominant socio-political (read: capitalist) frame is not contested. Without political dispute, technocratic and industry-led framings move from being one perspective on environmental problems, to the only acceptable perspective – and the only ‘problems’ that need to be sorted out are those associated with the technical details of how to carry out solutions to problems that are based on the ‘consensus’ best practice approach (i.e., a sustainability approach) (Swyndegouw, 2010; Millington & Wilson, 2013).  Although the London organizers made strides towards increasing efficiencies and minimizing waste, and it is likely fair to call these “the most sustainable Games to date” (LOCOG 2013a), very little (if anything) was fundamentally different. Despite Karamichas’ claim that the greening of the Olympic Games is becoming institutionalized and strides are being made toward a more sustainable Olympic model, the core tenants of Games have not changed, nor have they been up for debate. While decisions around which technologies should be used and how the Games should be managed were debated, a number of key assumptions and contradictions went unchallenged. What was taken-for-granted, firstly, was the size and spectacular nature of the Games. There was no debate about whether the Games should be less ‘mega’ in scale or reach. In fact, by framing the size and global audience of the Games as inevitable, LOCOG negated any conceptions of a smaller, more local Olympics. Although travel emissions could have been reduced if stadiums were less grand, or more tickets were reserved 98  for local citizens, the scale and global nature of the Games is never questioned. Change was offered only so far as to maintain economic prosperity.  Further, questions regarding who should be involved in the Games went unchallenged. London’s Olympics were no less commercial, or more community-oriented than previous Games, and in contrast, by committing to delivering the Games without public funds, LOCOG put added onus on securing sponsorships. They created exclusive designation rights around sustainability to attract sponsors with an interest in constructing a more environmentally-friendly public image. Specifically, this study echoed the warnings of Swyndegouw (2011), in that LOCOG mobilized strategies aimed at increasing consensus and limiting debate by involving ‘experts’ in decision-making.  Furthermore, contradictions inherent to the idea that a mega-development project could ever be considered ‘sustainable’ were left uncontested. As Hayes (2008, July) lamented in his piece for the Guardian newspaper: There is a glaring incompatibility between the games and the core tenets of environmentalism. While environmentalism is based on the three R’s - reduce, re-use, recycle - the games are based on the Big More: more spectators, more sales, more jobs, more tourists, more growth, more infrastructure. This brings enormous contradictions.  Blündhorn and Welsh (2007) similarly argued that the ‘mainstreaming’ of environmental discourse through EM may serve to blunt the transformative elements of stronger environmental movements and less anthropocentric views of nature. Under EM, environmental sustainability is assimilated into the market economy, and the idea that humans ought to act as the managers of nature becomes naturalized. Although issues around climate change are profoundly and consistently political, EM is commonly presented as the only reasonable 99  response to environmental problems (Millington & Wilson, 2013). Technocratic approaches to environmentalism “masquerade as a set of objective, natural, and technological truisms”, and debate regarding who should have a say in imagining a sustainable future are abandoned in favor of consensus (McCarthy & Prudham, 2004, p. 276; Swyndegouw, 2010).  In the end, by presenting ecological modernism as a universal good – green enough to appease environmentalist, and capitalistic enough to appease industry – LOCOG offered a form of environmentalism that both legitimized and sustained ‘business as usual’. By framing their games as ‘a blueprint for sustainable living’, and suggesting that they succeeded in ‘solving’ the environmental problems associated with hosting, in part through partnerships with corporations such as BP, LOCOG positioned their approach to environmentalism as the only reasonable approach to mega-event hosting 100  Chapter 6: Conclusion This study critically examined the complex ways that the Organizing Committee of the 30th Olympiad in London framed their controversial partnership with oil and gas giant, BP.  Public relations documents produced by LOCOG were a departure point for dissecting how certain interpretations of ‘sustainability’ were revealed and promoted through this framing. Scholarship related to sport mega-events and the environment, environmental sociology (most notably ecological modernization), and public relations helped illuminate how LOCOG used specific language and designation rights to frame BP as an important partner and motivator with relevant expertise in sustainability and technology. This analysis also helped unpack underlying assumptions related to the importance of collaboration, innovation, and growth that helped frame LOCOG’s approach to sustainability. More specifically, this project provided insight into the specific ways that LOCOG: a) championed the principles of ecological modernization; b) slid BP into and out of the spotlight, and; c) attempted to limit controversy and dissent by offering EM as the only acceptable perspective on and approach to the environmental problems associated with hosting.  Contributions  This project has contributed to key literatures in a number of ways. Firstly, this study made an important contribution to the field of mega-event research by focusing specifically on the public relations (i.e. discursive practices) of the organizing committee. This focus was fruitful for helping to uncover how language was utilized to privilege particular meanings around what it means to hold a sustainable Olympic games, and the role of corporations like BP in doing so. While critical scholarship on sport and the environment continues to grow, it 101  largely centers on the environmental practices and policies of event organizers and sporting bodies, with concerted efforts being placed on evaluating the extent to which mega-event organizers live up to their sustainability commitments and initiatives (see Boykoff & Mascarenhas, 2016; Hayes & Horne, 2012; Karamichas, 2013, Muller, 2014). Although scholars such as Edwards (2012) and Mickey (2003) have made a case for deconstructing PR and looking to understand how, and for whose welfare PR practice functions, this approach has not yet been applied to study the complex strategies of Olympic organizers. Investigating the public relations techniques utilized by LOCOG provided important insights into the intricate methods used in framing their partnership with BP and, in effect, how they were able to legitimize a certain approach to environmental problems associated with hosting. Further, by conceptualizing PR as something that is pliable and variable (read: not static), this study makes the case for tracing PR over the shifting lifespan of Games planning and delivery, and paying acute attention to instances of omission and silence.  Secondly, this study was unique in that it specifically investigated the role of corporate partnerships in the pursuit of a sustainable mega-event. To my knowledge, there have been no critical investigations into the ways that corporate partnerships are being used to bolster the sustainability messaging of event organizers. Through focused analysis into how LOCOG framed and mobilized its partnership with BP, interesting findings emerged that uncovered how LOCOG foregrounded industry as experts on sustainability, and motivators toward sustainable behaviour. This goes beyond the work of Lenskyj (2000a) who, despite investigating the positions of various Olympic stakeholders (i.e. government, NGO and environmental groups), did not specifically look into how these groups were represented and framed by the organizing 102  committee. Studying this distinction is important if we are to better understand the shift of corporate sponsors from the periphery (as sponsors and capital investors) to the center of Games planning and delivery (as partners and experts).  Finally, this research considered ways that consensus around Olympic sustainability efforts was secured, by applying Swyngedouw’s notion of post-politics alongside a focus on public relations. While this concept is beginning to be picked up by scholars in the area of sport (Millington & Wilson, 2013; Pentifallo, 2015), it was an especially fruitful lens to consider the intricate ways that language was used to limit debate, and give the illusion of consensus. While many scholars are focusing on the intersection of sport and the environment, with particular attention paid to the sustainability practices of event organizers, very few (if any) are focusing on how sport spectacles may help to shape narratives around what a sustainable future might look like. This approach is unique and requires additional research, which I discuss in the following section.   Future Directions  Scholarship related to the intersection between sport and the environment is still relatively new. While a myriad of articles outside the field have unpacked the `greenwashing` of environmental discourse within a corporate setting, there is space for paying critical attention to how the sports-industrial complex is using similar techniques to legitimize their practices. In an increasingly reflexive climate, where public awareness around the causes and impacts of climate change continues to swell, it is reasonable to predict that sport mega-event organizers will place ever-renewed efforts into justifying their mega-scale, mega-development events.  103  Valuable avenues for future research would involve tracing the specific ways in which event organizers respond to public critique, as well as how framing of sustainability shifts from one Olympic event to the next. Although not possible with this project, tracing (specifically) how public critique around LOCOG’s corporate partners impacted their PR strategies would have allowed for stronger conclusions to be drawn about their responsiveness. It was impossible to discern why LOCOG seemed to change their framing of BP in different contexts, although drawing parallels to external critiques and events (e.g., protests, news articles) would help solidify this finding. Further, as it has been well documented that Organizers and bid committees rely heavily on the planning and bid documents from previous host committees (see Pentifallo and VanWynsberghe, 2012), it would be interesting to see if LOCOG’s approach (and their sustainability partners designation specifically) has been taken up by other organizing committees. For example, Sochi implemented a Sustainable Future programme in 2014, and the Rio organizers have created the Abraça (‘Embrace’) Sustainability programme – each bearing similar resemblance to London’s Sustainability Partners programme. Investigations into whether and how these organizing committees adjusted their framing of these exclusive programs, or their corporate selections, would be a testament to the perceived efficacy of these programs. Furthermore, with upcoming Games planned for cities known for air and water pollution (Rio, Pyongjang, Tokyo and Beijing), considering the strategies these host cities use to frame sustainability and respond to critique would help illuminate how these approaches shift across time and context.   Secondly and as previously mentioned, few studies have focused their attention on the specific language, and rhetorical techniques used by Olympic organizers who seek to legitimize 104  a certain approach to environmental problems. Although it is likely that researchers of sport mega-events have analyzed PR documents, very few (if any) have defined them as such. That is to say, while mega-event research often involves the analysis of annual reports, website, press releases, advertisements and the like, there is a rich body of relevant literature on public relations that would assist in deconstructing the discourses within these texts. As mega-event organizers who continue to make claims toward sustainable Games (e.g., ‘green’ and ‘zero-waste’) succeed in garnering praise (CSL, 2012; BBC, 2012; Shankleman, 2012) and win awards for doing so (e.g., London won the 6th International Sports Event Management award for Environmental and Sustainability), it is increasingly important to uncover how organizers (rather successfully) frame their approach to sustainability, minimize controversy and gain consent. Focusing on the public relations strategies embedded in these documents allows for more pointed critiques and interpretation of a rather complex and variable set of claims, assertions and goals. The rich potential for applying public relations literature to the study of mega-events and sustainability can be seen in research conducted by Greenberg, Knight and Westersund (2011). As discussed earlier, they conducted an analysis into how PR was used by competing corporate groups and NGOs, who were looking to frame climate change in very different and opposing ways. They made the case that while PR is often successfully utilized by private interests, it can also be a fruitful tool for resistance groups. As user-based and alternative sources of media grow in popularity, it would be fascinating to see how groups who mobilize against the environmental policies and practices of mega-events take-up PR to articulate dissent. Within the context of the London Games, for example, the group Greenwash Gold 105  attracted significant attention when they utilized social media, public displays of art, and online mechanisms to ask citizens to vote for the Olympic corporate partner who was “covering up the most environmental destruction and devastating the most communities while pretending to be a good corporate citizen by sponsoring the Olympic Games” (Greenwashgold.org). An important, and fascinating study could investigate how such resistance groups mobilized their own PR strategies to resist the dominant narratives presented by Olympic elite.    As mentioned earlier, an important, yet nuanced finding from this study was that LOCOG’s framing of BP was not entirely uniform, and appeared manipulated in different contexts and instances. I would argue that this finding emphasizes the need to attend closely to public relations campaigns over time. Those who have attended to PR in the context of sport, such as work on the golf industry by Millington and Wilson (2013), have been apt to frame PR as something that is relatively static and overarching. I have made the case for paying particular attention to instances of omission, and think future studies on the framing of partners, or the role of corporations in sustainability initiates could benefit from doing the same. Finally, while many scholars in the field are thinking through the ways that environmental concerns are impacting sport, not many are focusing on how sport is shaping narratives related to the environment and sustainability. By presenting the London Games as a ‘blueprint for sustainable living’, LOCOG offered narrow, industry-friendly conceptions of what a ‘sustainable future’ might look like. In fact, by focusing on PR strategies, we can begin to see these sport-mega events as an avenue for greenwashing, or as a platform to foster consensus and limit debate. Swyngedouw’s post-political condition is a unique framework from which to view this Olympic sustainability spin as a dangerous discourse. As Alexander (2009) stressed, 106  “the use of language in this process is preventing analysis and resolution of the ecological issues (and others) by distorting what is going on and thus dispersing energy and activities away from these issues” (p. 26). Important avenues for study could investigate how sport, and sport mega-events, are helping to shape ideas about sustainable development and sustainable futures. Research into how these messages are interpreted and taken up by citizens would be fruitful in this regard.  Future Games can benefit from allowing space for different and more radical iterations for a global sporting contest. With the cyclical nature of bid processes and Olympic delivery, and the mandates for bid committees that the IOC puts forward every year, there is little room for radically alternative models. That is to say, in order to imagine a different Games, one that isn’t predicated on the ‘big more’ as Hayes (2008, July) so eloquently put it, we need to open up space for new ideas about what a large-scale sporting event could look like – and such ideas need to be rewarded by the IOC selection committee. As we look to Rio, and the method through which they replicated London’s approach to sustainability, it is difficult to image how a different or radical approach might bore from this scenario, or in other words, how would this process foster anything new?  As environmental scholars such as Robinson (2004) and Fischer (2000) have argued, deliberations and imaginaries offered by ordinary citizens can have a substantial and essential impact on environmental problem solving. Instead of foregrounding and privileging the perspectives of supersized corporations, are there ways that we imagine citizens as experts? This of course would require citizens to have a clear picture about the state of the choices they confront. Perhaps alternative, non-sport mega-events – such as the Glastonbury or Burning 107  Man music festivals – can offer some alternative models. For example, Glastonbury takes every fifth year off to let local flora and fauna rejuvenate, and Burning Man participants construct a city based on trade instead of capitalism, and truck home every morsel of waste created. No matter the strategy, it is important that the conventional mega-spectacle is questioned, and not taken for granted as natural or necessary. As environmental scholars like Foster, Bottici, and Yuseff argue, perhaps “the capacity to begin something truly new depends on our ability to imagine that things might as well be different from what they actually are, or at the very least as less solid and determinate than they appear to be” (Bottici, 2011 as cited in Wright, Nyberg, De Cock & Whiteman, 2013, p. 12).  If we take the words of those who warn us of the impending doom of our planet, and the pressing need for radical change in our patterns of production and consumption, then the environmental crisis – and actions that need to be taken to deal with the crisis – need to be communicated in a ways that do not undermine the pressing need for fundamental change. Presenting these mega-scale development projects as global ‘show and tells’ of sustainable technology and technological fixes, is dangerous and counterproductive. By paying critical attention to how these narrow, industry-friendly representations of sustainability are presented as the only solution to environmental problems – space and loci for dissent and resistance can be discovered and seized. 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