Clean Creatives ties agencies to fossil fuel companies in Polluted PR report

The campaign aims to stop PR firms from supporting fossil fuel clients.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

NEW YORK: Clean Creatives, an environmental activist campaign led by nonprofit Fossil Free Media, has published a report matching PR and creative agencies with their fossil fuel clients. 

Fossil fuel companies and their trade groups spend more than $200 million a year on advertising and PR, and work often involves lobbying against climate legislation, setting up fake front groups, greenwashing and other unethical practices, according to the report. 

WPP firms such as Ogilvy worked to rebrand BP to convince the public the company was becoming a renewable energy company, despite 96% of the oil giant's annual spend being on oil and gas. Meanwhile, Hill+Knowlton has worked with Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron and industry groups like America's Natural Gas Alliance, which actively works to undermine state climate policies. 

Omnicom's PR and advertising agencies had a mix of fossil fuel companies as clients. FleishmanHillard has regularly partnered with the American Petroleum Institute, the Edison Electric Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers and other fossil fuel industry front groups, which have all fought against climate action. 

A FleishmanHillard representative said the agency no longer works with these three brands.

Edelman had close ties with the American Petroleum Institute and was paid $327 million by the company from 2008 to 2012. The agency recently announced it would no longer "accept client assignments that aim to deny climate change." 

The Clean Creatives initiative sent a copy of the report to agencies across the advertising and PR industry asking agencies, creatives and clients to stop working with and supporting fossil fuel clients. 

Clean Creatives plans to organize creatives in the industry to pressure employers and ask sustainability oriented clients to stop working with agencies who spread climate misinformation. 

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