Edelman splits with Standard Bank Group

The decision reportedly stems from Edelman’s refusal to work on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.

Richard Edelman headshot
Richard Edelman put the firm through an energy client review that concluded early this year. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

CHICAGO: Edelman and Standard Bank Group have agreed to end their partnership, effective January 2023. 

“We can confirm that Edelman and Standard Bank Group partnered closely for three years and mutually agreed not to renew our partnership beyond December 2022,” an Edelman spokesperson said. 

Due to confidentiality commitments with clients, Edelman said it was unable to share additional information about the split. A representative for South Africa-based Standard Bank Group could not be immediately reached for further comment. 

According to South African news outlet Fin24, people familiar with the issue said that Edelman declined to provide PR or reputation management services for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). 

The EACOP would, if completed, transport crude oil almost 900 miles from Uganda to the Chongoleani peninsula near Tanga port in Tanzania. TotalEnergies, CNOOC Limited, The Uganda National Oil Company and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation are working on the project. 

Environmental group StopEACOP has been sounding the alarm on the pipeline’s potential climate effects, including generating 34 million tons of carbon emissions each year. 

The end of Standard Bank Group and Edelman’s relationship comes on the heels of the expected passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes historic climate, healthcare and corporate tax measures and would invest $369 billion, including tax credits, to climate-change-fighting initiatives.

It also comes as Edelman’s work with energy companies is under the microscope. Last year, dozens of celebrities and influencers signed a petition asking the firm to stop working with fossil-fuel clients. In response, Edelman conducted a client review and published principles for working with energy clients.

Edelman grew 15.4% globally on a constant currency basis to $985 million last year, with the U.S. up 15.5% to $613.1 million, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report 2022.

Last month, Edelman Smithfield, Edelman’s financial communications boutique, launched globally


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