Activists target Edelman in climate change protest

Agency accused of running 'greenwashing' campaign on behalf of energy client E.ON.

Green campaigners this week descended on the European headquarters of PR agency Edelman in an attempt to 'reclaim the PR machine for normal people'.

Activists from Oxford Climate Action arrived at the London office of Edelman on Wednesday morning, alleging a massive 'greenwashing' campaign by the agency's energy client E.ON.

Several protesters gained access to the PR firm, while others climbed on to the roof to unfurl a banner. Labour MP John McDonnell stopped by to lend his support to Oxford Climate Action's stunt.

It said the demonstration aimed to 'highlight the insanity of investing in new coal power stations such as Kingsnorth in the face of human-caused climate change'.

The group also described Edelman as having 'a long record of involvement with ethically questionable companies, including AstraZeneca, Wal-Mart and Pfizer'.

Protester Debbie Locke said: 'Edelman is telling E.ON to say that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) can help, but CCS is an unproven technology and 20 years away at the earliest. We are here to reclaim the PR machine for normal people who want to see real action on climate change, not another dose of corporate greenwash.'

Edelman's UK CEO Robert Phillips posted a blog entry and video after the protest, but expressed disappointment that the campaigners did not want to speak to him. 'I would be absolutely happy to have a free and open debate with them, but they aren't interested,' he said. 'We are proud of our work with E.ON in tackling climate change issues.'

The PRCA hit out at the protesters. Director general Francis Ingham said: 'These people should stop childishly ranting against things they disagree with, and start talking.'


3 August: Planned start of Camp for Climate Action nine-day protest at Kingsnorth power station

16 July: Edelman protest and Climate Camp protest against Guardian Climate Change Summit due to E.ON sponsorship

11 July: E.ON publishes its annual Corporate Social Responsibility report citing its 'sustainable approach'

March: E.ON hires Edelman for a wide-ranging public affairs brief.

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