IIHF World Juniors: Stop sportswashing. Drop Esso (ExxonMobil) as a Main Sponsor!

IIHF World Juniors: Stop sportswashing. Drop Esso (ExxonMobil) as a Main Sponsor!

Sign the petition: https://chng.it/7G55Sz9bxt

Ah, the annual IIHF World Junior Championship – what an event! Around the world, millions of hockey fans tune in to watch the top ten U20 men’s national teams. It’s an exciting showcase of the future of professional hockey.

Many of these young stars learned how to skate, fell in love with hockey, and developed their skills on outdoor ice. The same outdoor rinks are now threatened by warmer, shorter winters caused by the worsening climate crisis, largely because of burning fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, once again, the World Juniors offer the most appalling example of sportswashing in all of hockey. Sportswashing is a term used to describe the practice of individuals, groups, corporations, governments, or nations using sports to improve reputations tarnished by wrongdoing or controversy.

Esso (a trading name for ExxonMobil), one of the world’s largest and most polluting oil and gas corporations, is also one of the main sponsors of the World Juniors. Air pollution from fossil fuel use is killing 5 million people worldwide every year.

Since 1965, ExxonMobil has emitted over 40 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. Since 1988, ExxonMobil has been the highest-emitting investor-owned fossil fuel company in the world. In 2020, ExxonMobil reported 762 million tonnes of total greenhouse gas emissions. In 2021, only 0.16% of ExxonMobil’s total capital expenditures were devoted to low-carbon investments. Their massive historical emissions have contributed significantly to the climate crisis. This includes the warming and shortening of winters that kids rely on to learn how to skate and play hockey.

Way back in 1977, ExxonMobil’s own scientists modelled and predicted, with shocking skill and accuracy, that burning fossil fuels would cause catastrophic global warming. Since then, instead of acting on the science, the company has spent millions upon millions to fund climate denial to mislead the public about climate science and simultaneously block progressive energy legislation. Such actions, coupled with their enormous historical emissions and future plans, make ExxonMobil one of the biggest climate criminals in human history. All the while, the company has not hesitated to brag about its role in supporting hockey in Canada – apparently unaware of the inherent hypocrisy of doing so.

We call upon the organizers of the IIHF World Juniors to stop sportswashing and drop ExxonMobil as a sponsor to be climate leaders and align with the IIHF’s own Environmental and Social Responsibility Guidelines. The tournament should not act as a billboard for an oil and gas corporation that has significantly contributed to the worsening climate crisis, including the melting away of winters that future World Juniors players will depend on to learn the great game of ice hockey.


Save Pond Hockey
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE)