A storm over Oxford Climate Forum’s sponsors

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An environmental event due to be held in Oxford next month has been met with controversy over its funders.

The Oxford Climate Forum, which will take place in the Said Business School, counts among its backers IBM and the Oxford Hub, which is part-funded by Barclays.

Barclays and IBM have been criticised for their practice of funding the extraction of tar sands oil from parts of Canada, which is believed to produce almost four times as many greenhouse gases as normal oil extraction.

It is also thought to cause extensive deforestation.

A spokesperson for Oxford Hub said they had “no control over IBM’s investments”.

“One of the sponsors of the Oxford Climate Forum 2014 is IBM. Our priority is to give a high-impact and high-quality conference and we are working with NGOs, not-for-profits and corporates to put on the best event we can,” she said.

“We have no control over IBM’s investments but are working with their CSR department to get more students engaged and thinking about climate change and sustainability. We create partnerships with large companies in order to be part of the dialogue between the private and the third sectors to improve environmental standards.”

Cameron Abery, a second-year French and Portuguese student at Queen’s, said: “Obviously it’s terrible that this goes on in Canada, and in an ideal world it wouldn’t.”

“But at the end of the day there’s hypocrisy at every level. Even I am a hypocrite. Nobody’s perfect.”

“These poor little businesses can’t do right for doing wrong.”

The OCF will take place on the 7th and 8th February.