If you're beleaguered oil giant BP and you need to refurbish your image, what better platform than the Olympic Games?
The latest press release concerning their involvement in the games concerns a carbon-offsetting scheme. On Friday, BP said in a statement that 200,000 ticket holders have signed up for what it calls its Target Neutral London 2012 Programme.
According to the company, Target Neutral has corralled Olympic visitors and athletes to support offsetting his or her carbon footprint. BP Target Neutral is offering to offset the carbon footprint of all ticketed spectators attending both the Olympic and Paralympic Games for free.
Carbon offsetting means reducing emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases in order to allow for or to offset an emission made elsewhere. One carbon offset represents the reduction of one metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) or one of the six primary categories of greenhouse gases such as methane or nitrous oxide.
So the idea is, carbon offsets allow you to balance the CO2 emissions on your flight by supporting projects that reduce these emissions elsewhere.
The company touts that it's very easy to do, in that ticket holders just need to visit the BP Target Neutral web site or sign up at Facebook to have their carbon emissions for travel to London offset.
Many of the major airlines enthusiastically participate in offsetting schemes. From Virgin Atlantic to Delta to Jet Blue, carbon offsetting is a way to not only 'green' one's travel but enjoy the prestige that comes with being environmentally friendly.
The Target Neutral scheme works by offsetting emissions when ticket holders choose from a portfolio of "six carbon offset projects that have been chosen to represent each continental region participating in the Games," according to BP.
BP has already solicited the participation of Turkey, Team USA, Trinidad & Tobago, Azerbaijan, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Angola and Georgia, according to the company.
Target Neutral has already offset travel emissions of the 70,000 volunteers for London 2012, and is working with a number of athletes to publicize the program.
Target Neutral was set up in 2006 as part of BP’s commitment to sustainability, and the company's program was a founding member of the International Carbon Reduction and Offsetting Alliance.
Meanwhile, BP's image in the States remains tarnished, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico region where sick residents are still struggling to get claims paid, doctors to see them, and lawyers to represent them.