Why Ford’s sponsorship of Ride London shouldn’t be considered greenwashing

Why Ford’s sponsorship of Ride London shouldn’t be considered greenwashing

Ride London has been saved, ironically, by a car company. Ford will be the sponsor of Ride London for the next three years. On the face of it, the partnership seems an unlikely one that has only served to anger many in the cycling community. However, dig a little deeper, and the logic behind the decision could be brilliant.

The news that Ford will sponsor Ride London will likely be met with the same greenwashing accusations as Shell’s controversial sponsorship of British Cycling. However, unlike the oil giant, Ford’s motivation behind this partnership is not driven by a desire to brush over its harmful environmental impact. Instead, the car manufacturer is raising awareness of a campaign to encourage Londoners to walk and cycle short journeys instead of driving their car. And when they need to drive, Ford’s sponsorship encourages them to do so in one of their electric vehicles.

If the aim was to generate awareness of the campaign, which Ford calls ‘Park the Car,’ then the headlines and social media coverage of such a controversial partnership may do the trick.

Lisa Brankin, managing director of Ford of Britain and Ireland, said: “Partnering with RideLondon is a clear way for us to connect with a wider audience and share the countless benefits of cycling and walking.

It’s also a fantastic opportunity for us to further support both our park the car initiative, promoting smart choices around which mode of transport to use, especially for short distances, and also raise awareness of Ford zero-emission vehicles.”

Read our article on What to do when your sponsorship backfires. For more analysis of sponsorship greenwashing read our article on Coca-Cola and COP27 here.