FIRMS that have sponsored the COP26 climate conference have described it as "mismanaged" and "very last minute".

The United Nations climate summit is due to kick off in Glasgow on Sunday, October 31 and is being run by the UK Government from within the Cabinet Office.

Some of Britain's biggest companies have been brought on to sponsor the event with millions of pounds of investment being pumped into what is being described as a "vital" conference.

World leaders will be heading to Glasgow for the event, but the big companies sponsoring it have blamed "very inexperienced" civil servants for delayed decisions, poor communication and a breakdown in relations between organisers and companies.

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In a letter to the organisers which was seen by the Guardian, these concerns and other problems were raised.

The letter was written by broadcaster Sky and co-signed by senior figures from other COP26 sponsors.

Aside from Sky, the summit has 10 other major sponsors or "principal partners" including Scottish Power, SSE, Unilever, NatWest, Sainsbury's, Glaxo Smith Klein (GSK) and Microsoft.

There are also five lower-level "partners" including the Jaguar Land Rover Group and Ikea.

The UK is running the climate summit from within the Cabinet Office with former business secretary Alok Sharma (below) now the COP26 president.

The National:

A source, employed by a COP26 sponsor, said that "the biggest frustration" was the lack of information from the organisers about how the event will run with important questions going unanswered and planning decisions delayed.

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The source told the Guardian: "They had an extra year to prepare for [COP26] due to Covid, but it doesn’t feel like this time was used to make better progress. Everything feels very last minute."

Sponsors had been brought on with the promise of "outstanding opportunity" and "unique benefits" including the ability to promote brands at the event's "green zone".

However, the companies have complained about unmet expectations and concerns about the delay to green zone plans.

The source blamed "very young and very inexperienced" civil servants planning the event with the source adding: "It’s clear that many of them have very little experience managing relationships in the private sector, or even experience attending a COP event."

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Energy sponsors Hitachi, National Grid, Scottish Power and SSE are also understood to be frustrated having been under the impression that there would be no other energy brands featured at the event.

However, the "blue zone", run by the UN will feature other brands.

A COP26 spokesperson said: "We are working closely with all our COP26 Partners ahead of the vital summit in Glasgow. Working with corporate sponsors increases the value for money for taxpayers, and reduces the overall financial cost of COP26.

“We are committed to hosting an inclusive summit in two weeks' time, which showcases innovative work from a range of businesses and civil society groups who are committed to tackling climate change together. Ministers are continuing to focus their time on helping to secure a positive outcome in Glasgow."