Greenpeace attacks promo by Sydney 2000 Olympic sponsor

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SYDNEY -- Westpac Ltd, one of Australia's "top four" banks and a major Sydney 2000 Olympic Games sponsor, has become the first marketing victim of the high level of scru tiny imposed on sponsors to meet the Games' environmental guidelines, which were drawn up in association with Greenpeace.

Greenpeace, which supported Sydney in its campaign to host "The Green Games" in 2000, criticized Westpac for marketing 150,000 money boxes at $6.75 each in the shape of the Olympic mascots Oly, Syd and Millie, which, Greenpeace says, breached the PVC content guidelines by containing phthalates potentially harmful to children.

Westpac has vigorously rejected the health claims, saying it relied upon "advice from the Australian Toy Association, the Sydney Games Organizing Committee and other industry and scientific bodies." The bank has so far refused to withdraw the boxes. Profits are to go to the Australian Olympics team.

Greenpeace Olympics campaigner Michael Bland insists sponsors are expected to show environ mental leadership: "Without question, the spon sors have a special set of obligations that are not necessarily taken on by anyone else." (Martin)

Copyright March 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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