Paris — Environmental organisation Greenpeace on Wednesday urged organisers of the 2023 Rugby World Cup to exclude oil and gas group TotalEnergies from its list of official sponsors, notably because it did not exit Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
In an open letter to Claude Atcher, general manager of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, Greenpeace wrote: “The sponsoring of the 2023 Rugby World Cup was already a real aberration in view of the climate emergency, it is all the more aberrant as the oil an gas major maintains its activities in Russia, taking the risk to participate in the financing of Vladimir Putin’s war.”
TotalEnergies, which has stakes in several Russian projects, has come under criticism after it stopped short of joining rivals Shell and BP in planning to divest oil and gas assets in Russia.
Rugby World Cup organisers told Reuters they would “not comment at this stage”.
In an email to Reuters, TotalEnergies said: “In choosing TotalEnergies as official sponsor of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, the organisation committee is trusting an historical partner of French rugby and a player engaged in energy transition as we are working to make this event environmentally virtuous through a de-carbonated mobility plan and the supply of green energy,”
In February World Rugby suspended Russia and Belarus from all international rugby and cross-border club rugby activities and suspended the Rugby Union of Russia from World Rugby membership.
– Reuters (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Additional reporting Julien Pretot and Benjamin Mallet; Editing by David Holmes and David Evans)