Tortoise Media’s ‘Uncomfortable’ Relationship With BP

Source: Desmog UK


Read time: 7 mins

Just over a month ago, I was invited to speak on a panel about climate change, taking place at Newcastle University’s student union. The event was being hosted by Tortoise Media, a journalism start-up that was founded by James Harding, BBC’s former director of news, and launched in 2019. Tortoise’s purpose, to which its animal namesake alludes, is to produce “slow news”.

I followed the link to the Eventbrite page, and was surprised to see BP’s logo emblazoned across the banner. The subject of the debate was: “Whose job is it to fight climate change?”. I looked at the other speakers billed to attend. Two of them were from BP: Rishi Dorai, a carbon management analyst, and Jo Alexander, a purpose engagement manager and chartered geologist. The email I received had described the event, which Tortoise has branded as a ThinkIn, as “BP-partnered”. In other words, it was sponsored by an oil company. It also had, in bold type, the assurance that “our independence is non-negotiable”.