If you’re following the ’38 degrees’ campaign to lobby Olympic sponsors into not accepting their tax breaks, then you may well have been updated already.

However, if not, here it is – and they are very pleased!

‘McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Adidas, VISA… In the last couple of weeks we’ve taken on some of the most powerful companies in the world – and won! Together, we’ve forced them to pay their fair share of tax during the Olympics. All of the companies we targeted have now said they won’t be using the tax break open to Olympic sponsors. [1]

This campaign was something new. 38 Degrees members are used to taking on the government. But this was the first time we’ve targeted big global companies. We knocked them over one by one, gaining strength with each fresh victory.

This win is more proof that when we work together, we get results. That’s why as 38 Degrees members we choose what we campaign on together. Member polls are an important part of deciding what we should focus on next. Should we concentrate on protecting the NHS and the environment? Should we be cracking down on bankers? Perhaps you have an idea of your own?

Can you take the two minute survey and help set the direction of 38 Degrees?

When 38 Degrees members first saw the tax breaks for Olympic sponsors, exposed in a piece by the magazine Ethical Consumer, it may have seemed unlikely that these heavyweight multinationals could be forced to back down. [2] But we were successful because we used our power as customers.

The sponsors were hoping to get a big boost from their involvement with the Games. But our huge petition and the flood of activity on Facebook and Twitter had them worried. They could see it was safer to back down on the tax break than to risk a PR disaster with the very people who buy their products.

Fixing this particular tax dodge is a step in the right direction and a glimpse of what we can do – but there’s so much more to do. Recent reports suggest that the UK could be losing trillions of pounds in dodged tax every year. [3] Should we follow up our Olympic success by keeping the focus on tax-dodging or should we be prioritising other campaigns? Perhaps we should be concentrating on tackling climate change, stopping the privatisation of the police, or protecting the BBC. Or is there something else you’d like to suggest?

Take the quick survey and help decide what we should work on next together:

Thanks for being involved,

David T, Robin, Belinda, Marie, James, and the 38 Degrees team

PS: Part of what scared the sponsors most was being targeted on Facebook. Protecting their public image turned out to be worth more than a tax break! Can you help make 38 Degrees even stronger by liking us on Facebook?

[1] We’ll work with tax experts from the Tax Justice Network to check these statements and to make sure these companies keep their word.
38 Degrees: Olympic sponsor statements
[2] Ethical Consumer: The Great Olympic Tax Swindle
[3] The Guardian: £13tn hoard hidden from taxman by global elite


23 thoughts on “MODERN ROBIN HOOD – UPDATE

  1. how are you doing this? this is great.
    and thanks for commenting on my link for the G4S/military charities comment ‘think! think! think!’
    i noted above that you wonder if anyone wants to help protect the nhs. well, if they do their job then fine. but when they are putting in a system that is, what i horribly call ‘legalised murder’ then no. i don’t quite fancy putting them on a pedastal.
    if you want, look into the ‘Liverpool Care Pathway’ or LCP as it’s termed.
    it’s freely available on the net and google brings up some fascinating reading.
    the prime aim is to release beds and stop spending on drugs for people who are nearing the end anyway. that’s fine when you look at it from a global perspective – looking down on the population from up high in those governmental cloisters. but when it’s your own flesh and blood, it’s a bit different. particularly when the doctors look for ‘signs of death’ rather than ‘signs of life’ in any pensioner that walks across their threshold.
    it seems, once you’ve outlived your ‘useful’ life term, you are no longer needed, and therefore are dispensed with.
    if you think this is horrific or abhorrent or even if you think i’m over-sensationalising the situation, then look it up for yourself.
    plenty of people go into hospital with nothing more than a broken hip – they are immediately taken off any medication they are taking, slowly weaned off the bag that feeds and waters them and given a ‘syringe driver’ that stops any pain. people slowly go into a coma – and die.
    i am angry about this. the system was put into place in liverpool in 1994 and the NICE guidelines made it legal for the WHOLE country – not just liverpool in 2001.


    1. I’m not aware of this, Kaye, but it is obviously completely unacceptable when it happens. When my mother went into hospital her welfare was taken seriously and all the efforts were directed towards sorting out her problems and making her feel more comfortable. However, this is clearly not always the case.

      I’ve had superb treatment over the past few months, but I am not yet a geriatric and doubtless that sometimes makes a difference to medical attitudes.


  2. I wish 38 degrees well. I reserve a bit of cynicism, as workarounds in kind are often found that we hear and know nothing about. What I truly like about the campaign is, for once, the focus is on real heavy corporate tax dodging (forget words like ethical and unethical).


    1. I agree that nothing is ever quite what it seems, and I mentally reserve judgement on anything that appears to have too facile an effect. But I think that anyone exerting pressure to hold people to some sort of accountability, given our present situation, is a ‘good thing’.


      1. It’s the line of thought you, me and a number of others have, sad to say. How can an organisation slip into a product line that has apparently been left in relatively acceptable order and let it slip into the mire so fast.? It suggests a total inexpertise.


      2. I’m afraid to say it does. They have already lost some loyal and valuable longterm customers such as yourself. One wonders what the thinking is. Or indeed, if there is any at all :??:


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