On World Oceans Day 2018, we couldn’t let it pass without highlighting one of the biggest greenwashing attempts of this year: Britain’s richest man, Jim Ratcliffe, and his plastic-not-fantastic chemical company INEOS, is now sponsoring the formerly eco-conscious and most successful Olympic sailor in British history, Sir Ben Ainslie.


Here Are Some Facts:

  • INEOS has given a monstrous £110m investment to the sailing team, who were previously partnered with Land Rover BAR & 11th Hour Racing.


  • With Land Rover & 11th Hour Racing, the team worked hard on sustainability projects, including delivering solar panel installations on Bermuda’s National Museum, an ocean plastics education programme and many posts sustainability initiatives.

“The team was the first sports team to be awarded the ISO 20121 standard for all its operations, placing sustainability at the heart of its philosophy. Its headquarters in Portsmouth is BREEAM certified due to an emphasis on recycled building materials, wildlife cultivation and protection, and rainwater harvesting, among other environmentally-friendly initiatives.”


  • Through Freedom of Information requests by Friends of the Earth have revealed that INEOS has been using Brexit as an opportunity to relax climate change laws, lobbying to abandon measures of charging energy-draining industries pay to develop low-carbon power sources.


  • Did you know that INEOS were behind the British Plastics Federation lobbying opposition to the 5p plastic bag charge? The BPF called the charge “pointless and unnecessary”. Plastic bag usage in England dropped by a whopping 85% following the passing of the new law.


  • Back in 2009, INEOS received a £7.6m cash “grant” from the Scottish Government. In 2010, Ratcliffe shipped INEOS’s HQ over to Switzerland to minimize his tax bill.


  • In 2013, Ratcliffe battled with his Grangemouth workforce after a mass profits drop. INEOS ruled to slash the final salary pension scheme of their staff and other benefits. Backed by Unite, the workforce voted to strike. INEOS responded with threats to close down the entire Grangemouth refinery to block the strike.


  • 2018 has seen INEOS’s Grangemouth facility rated ‘poor’ by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) for the third year in a row for its failure to comply with environmental protection measures.


  • Ratcliffe and Ainslie were forced to rebrand their Team GB to Team UK, after a major branding row broke out with the British Olympic Association who own the trademark ‘Team GB’ and were not willing to let Ratcliffe use it.


  • Last month, campaigners were horrified to find over 450,000 plastic ‘nurdles’ polluting a beach just 12 miles from INEOS’s polymer plant near Fife. The nurdles discovered on this one beach alone weighed in at 9.35kg of plastic – the equivalent of 833 plastic bottles.

  • Last week, an Early Day Motion was lodged in parliament by MPs and the environmental charity, FIDRA, calling “on the Government to properly hold INEOS and the industry to account for this pollution and for strict enforcement action to be taken across the UK.”