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China: Olympic Flame Turns Up Heat on Sponsors - Corporate Social Responsibility Rhetoric Does Not Match Reality

Author: Human Rights Watch, Published on: 17 April 2008

With fewer than four months remaining until the start of the Beijing Games, corporate sponsors of the Olympics risk lasting damage to their brands if they do not live up to their professed standards of corporate social responsibility by speaking out about the deteriorating human rights situation in China, Human Rights Watch said today. “Shareholders and consumers who care about human rights should not let Olympic corporate sponsors off the hook,” said Arvind Ganesan, director of Human Rights Watch’s Business and Human Rights Program. “Their silence on abuses in the run-up to the Beijing Games makes their claims to support human rights especially disingenuous.” The 12 highest-level corporate benefactors of the Beijing Games, known as the TOP sponsors (“The Olympic Partner”), are: Atos Origin, Coca-Cola, General Electric (GE), Manulife (parent company of John Hancock), Johnson & Johnson, Kodak, Lenovo, McDonald’s, Omega (Swatch Group), Panasonic (Matsushita), Samsung, and Visa. [also refers to NBC (joint venture General Electric & Vivendi Universal), Microsoft]

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Related companies: Atos (formerly Atos Origin) Coca-Cola Eastman Kodak General Electric John Hancock Financial Services (part of Manulife Financial) Johnson & Johnson Lenovo Manulife Financial Matsushita (now Panasonic) McDonald's Microsoft NBC (part of Comcast) Omega Watches (part of Swatch) Panasonic Samsung Swatch Visa Inc. Vivendi