London 2012: Chemical company Dow funds stadium wrap

A computer generated image of how the wrap will look The wrap will go up around the stadium in early 2012

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Chemical company Dow is to fund and make the fabric wrap around the Olympic Stadium in east London.

The wrap was conceived by the architects as the finishing touch to the stadium but was dropped to save £7m from the construction costs.

Dow, the world's second largest chemical manufacturer, will be allowed to advertise on the 336 panels until a month before the Games open next year.

The company is working on a plan to reuse the panels when the Games finish.

London 2012 organisers, Locog, are committed to a sustainability plan including minimising greenhouse gasses and waste and ensuring no waste is sent to landfill during the Olympics.

Dow has not put a figure to the cost of making and sponsoring the wrap, which is made from polyester and polyethylene. The wrap will encircle the venue, spanning the sides from concourse level to the top tier of seating.

London 2012 - Begin your journey here

London view

Each panel is 25m high by 2.5m wide. They are being manufactured at a US plant in Seattle and will be installed around the stadium's metal skeleton early in 2012.

Dow will be able to brand the wrap with sponsorship until 26 June 2012, when its logo will be removed from the surface due to the IOC's insistence on venues being "clean" from advertising during the Games.

The wrap will be printed using UV-curable inks, rather than solvent-based ones which create a greater level of emissions in their manufacture.

Dow's UK managing director Keith Wiggins told the BBC it was "actively" working on "repurposing" the panels for after the Games and that the materials being used had a better carbon footprint than alternatives as they were lighter to make and transport.

Mr Wiggins said: "We're delighted to provide the wrap.

Start Quote

The wrap completes the enclosure of the structure and gives form to the lightweight frame that supports the elegant white roof”

End Quote Rod Sheard Populous

"For us this is a very big deal. It's the first opportunity to tell the world about what we're bringing in terms of scientific excellence and sustainability."

The stadium will host athletics as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. Funding for its outer layer was scrapped in 2010 to save public cash as part of the government's spending review.

In February, it was announced that the wrap would be reinstated and a search began for a private sponsor.

The current design, using individual strips of material, differs from the original of one 900m long curtain displaying moving images.

Rod Sheard, of Populous, which designed and built the stadium, said the wrap was one of the last parts of a four-year-old design.

"It will provide a clear and memorable identity to the stadium," he said.

"We are very pleased, as the wrap completes the enclosure of the structure and gives form to the lightweight frame that supports the elegant white roof."

Locog chair Sebastian Coe said: "The stadium will look spectacular at Games time and having the wrap is the icing on the cake.

"I'm delighted Dow as one of the newer worldwide partners of the Olympic movement will be providing it and importantly doing it in a sustainable way."

Dow is an Olympic partner for the International Olympic Committee and a sponsor committed to supporting the Games for the next 10 years.

The chemical manufacturer has had a chequered history, including making napalm and Agent Orange for the US government during the Vietnam War.

In 1999, Dow merged with the Union Carbide Corporation, whose subsidiary Union Carbide India, ran the Bhopal pesticide plant - the site of one of the world's worst industrial disasters, in which thousands of people died in the previous decade.

Mr Wiggins said Dow would be judged by what it did in future, not the "awful legacies" of the past.

"It's acknowledged the industry has made mistakes in the past. But the world without good chemistry in the future would be a poorer place," he said.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    DOW should have been instructed by LOCOG to have the wrap produced in the UK, even though they were'nt paying for it , the sustainablity issues rasied by printing in UV curable inks has been completely negated by the increased carbon footprint from producing the wrap in the US and the transport costs and implication to the environment this will cause.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Hello Leidens_SS I think you will find that DOW have everything to do with India and the current situation in Bhopal. Maybe you should ask the families of the 30,000 people killed in Bhopal by the gas leak from the Union Carbide factory there which has since been bought out by DOW, or the survivors who are still living with the physical and psychological effects of that terrible night.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    This is truly disgusting.This £7m should be spent in Bhopal ensuring the people there get the clean water, health care and dignity which is rightfully theirs. NOT on advertising the American company that are responsible for the deaths of so many. DOW Chemical take responsibility and CLEAN UP BHOPAL.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Bhopal Medical Appeal could really do some good work with £7m.
    I hope this publicity backfires and a new generation of westerners discover the scandal that still blights the lives of thousands of people in India.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Union Carbide were responsible for 1984 gas disaster in Bhopal.
    Dow Chemical own Union Carbide.
    A compensation payout was made to settle criminal charges relating to gas disaster.
    The toxic environment and drinking water in Bhopal has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE GAS DISASTER.
    Even the US courts acknowledge this fact.
    Dow refuse to clean up.
    Dow settled Union Carbide liabilities in the US.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    While its imp to develop/showcase better & cleaner products, Dow is still liable for the damage its subsidiary caused in Bhopal. Taking over a company involves taking its assets & liabilities. The disaster was predated by the site contamination (ongoing). It is also the responsibility of the Govt. of India (& the US for sheltering Warren Anderson - Union Carbide CEO - absconding trial in India)

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Add your comment...I am shocked to read that Dow is involved with the Stadium. At present I am in Vietnam to attend an interntional conference on Agent Orange used 50 years ago this month on Vietnam. Dow was one of the companies who made Agent Orange that killed and maimed thousands. Its effects have gone into the 4th generation and yesterday I met and spoke to some of the living victims.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    I am sure the people in Bhopal who I just spent 6 months living and working with would have a word or 2 for Mr Wiggins. Ongoing water and land contamination due to Dows refusal to clean up the factory site has resulted in a second humanitarian disaster in Bhopal that continues to happen today. gives more information on the situation.
    This is a total disgrace to the UK and to sport

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    I gotta laugh at people who claim we`re saving money,yeh great but saving money does not create skills n engineering jobs.

    Make a choice- save money or have knowledge.I know germany and japan does this and invests in their own population and they haven`t done too bad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    @JimmyC: With that kind of tenuous logic [i.e. Dow have a responsibility for the behaviour of a management team they have never met nor had any control over] I could say Kraft have every right to basque in the moral glory of Cadbury’s charitable efforts.

    Credit to Dow, they have still spent $millions on health & community projects in Bhopal and continue to. Respectable and commendable

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Alistair, two parts - this product have been given away by the company, so there is no competition or requirement for local business. Also the type of work they are doing (as far as I am aware) cannot be produced in the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    I have to laugh at some of the people who automatically jump on any bandwagon. This has saved 7 Million to the taxpayer, it has given UK people some limited jobs (in putting up/down the sheets, supporting the advertising campaign) and maybe promote a new greener technology.

    Lastly, Dow had nothing to do with India, and in fact most people already use their products daily.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    I believed that all work around the Olympics was meant to be produced in the UK unless impossible to do? At least that's what all the local Business Link seminars were promoting. Was this work listed on

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Hi Richard # 13. No doubt there are plenty of others who want to do the same, but can you really book transport abroad that far in advance?

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Kinda of a bit of an environmental waste of time, money and resources.

    Perhaps Dow would consider donating the money to a worthy cause like sustainable develpment in the Horn of Africa ?

    Do I need to set up an ePetition now :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Rubbish! The stadium looks good as it is, there’s nothing sustainable about wrapping it with polyester and polyethylene.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    @mjpm24 True the Bhophal disaster didn't occur under the stewardship of Dow. But when Dow purchased Union Carbide, UC and it's past didn't just cease to exists, they took on the moral responsibility to compensate those affected and clean up the site. To this day new born babies are still suffering the effects of that accident all those years ago,

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Interesting that the BBC, in their headline on the main page, refer to the company as 'chemical company' and not simply Dow. Of course this has negative connotations, particularly amongst the bewildered such as 'kdbur' who instantly brands Dow as evil. I guess this just suits the BBC's agenda of pushing half witted pseudo science.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    MONEY TALKS! Regardless of past.....That's what bean counters do best.....It must be extremely difficult in this world we inhabit to find pure and un-tainted sources of finance, indeed some will allege that the very core of events of this nature are themselves tainted beyond recovery!


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