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Are ad agencies, PR firms and lobbyists destroying the climate?

An unnoticed industry worth two trillion dollars a year is influencing almost every carbon emission. Sustainability solution seeker Solitaire Townsend calls this sector the "X industry" (where "X" stands for influence), and it includes professional services like advertising and PR firms, management consultancies, corporate law firms, lobbyists and more. In this eye-opening talk, she exposes the industry's massive but largely invisible influence on the environment -- and proposes ways they can use their creativity, inventiveness and knowledge to fix climate change instead of contributing to it.

Watch her TED talk explaining how this sector has such a pervasive influence. 

Advertising / PR

Edelman: who funds you?

Edelman, one of the largest public relations firms in the world, has pledged never to work with climate deniers and proudly touts its work on environmental justice campaigns with brands like Tazo Tea.  

“Right now the only categorical exclusion we have is on climate denial and coal,” Michael Stewart, then a top Edelman executive, told the Guardian in 2015. “When you are trying in some way to obfuscate the truth or use misinformation and half-truths that is what we would consider getting into the work of greenwashing, and that is something we would never propose or work we would support our client doing.”

Read more

But newly released tax filings obtained by BuzzFeed News show that in 2019 the company accepted more than $4 million from the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, a major US oil trade organization that even Shell and BP had recently dumped for its aggressive opposition to popular climate solutions.

AFPM, a trade group that pulled in more than $55 million in revenue in 2019 alone, has aggressively opposed climate action and provided funding to the Heartland Institute, a climate denial group. AFPM has paid Edelman at least $12 million for public relations work from 2017 to 2019, tax filings show.

AFPM has taken some of the most extreme positions among fossil fuel trade groups, including helping create Energy4Us, a group that ran Facebook ads supporting the Trump administration’s rollbacks of national fuel efficiency standards without initially disclosing its ties to the oil and gas industry. The trade group also helped fund a campaign opposing a carbon tax in Washington state.

Advertising / PR

The F-List 2021: 90 PR and ad agencies that are working with the Fossil Fuel Industry

WPP have just released a new sustainability plan to cut their own emissions to net zero by 2030.......

......but their agencies hold dozens of contracts with major polluters that plan to increase their emissions in that same timeframe. WPP named “Increased reputational risk associated with working on environmentally detrimental client briefs and/or misrepresenting environmental claims.” as one of the principal future risks to their business.


One of Oligvy's sustainability aims is: "To protect the environment whilst providing services to our clients, such as safe-guarding both eco systems & biodiversity; utilizing sustainable resources; and climate change mitigation"

.... you may know that Ogilvy has BP as a major client; But you may not   know that their “Keep Advancing” campaign had to be entirely scrapped after @CLientearth filed a complaint with the the UK’s Dept. for International Trade over its greenwashing content. Meanwhile OgilvyPR is repping Chevron’s @CaltexAustralia brand. 

more examples here:

HK Strategies say "Our approach is holistic and inclusive, so your consumers, employees and stakeholders are part of the process and share in creating a positive impact on people and the planet."

@HKStrategies  has done PR for many of the biggest polluters blocking climnate action including: Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, The Oil & Gas Climate Initiative, America’s Natural Gas Alliance. None of these clients have plans to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement


VMLY&R (WPP) say: Building better futures: We use the power of creativity to build better futures for our people, planet, clients and communities.

@VMLYR has had Chevron as a global client since 1987, working from Australia to Pakistan to Singapore to the US (and beyond). Chevron has become one of the world’s biggest polluters, and they don't have plans to change in the next 34 years.

Advertising / PR

Earth day 2021: companies accused of greenwashing

A growing number of consumers say they’re willing to pay more for products with a sustainability message. But when ads make something sounds better for the environment than it actually is, that is called greenwashing.

Here’s a roundup of companies and their products consumers should be mindful of this Earth Day 2021 that have been accused of not being as environmentally friendly as advertised (Note: NAD is the National Advertising Division and ASA is the Advertising Standards Authority). Read the article and see the full list here.

Advertising / PR

The F list 2021

Following our visit to the Ad awards in December, the industry newspaper - Campaign - has published a piece about the responsibilities of the advertising world. Read it here.

 NY, September 21, 2021—Clean Creatives issued a new report today, “The F-List 2021” that documents 90 Ad and PR agencies working with fossil fuel corporations that are responsible for climate change and compares holding company pledges for climate action with their work to greenwash their clients’ image and spread climate misinformation. 

Have a look at the list of Ad and PR companies that work to support planet destroying fossil fuel companies. Thanks to

Advertising / PR

The F list

Following our visit to the Ad awards in December last year, the industry newspaper - Campaign - has published a piece about the responsibilities of the advertising world. Read it here.

And more information on the murky world of PR, spin and advertising here.

Clean Creatives issued a new report today, “The F-List 2022” that documents 90 Ad and PR agencies working with fossil fuel corporations that are responsible for climate change and compares holding company pledges for climate action with their work to greenwash their clients’ image and spread climate misinformation. 

Have a look at the list of Ad and PR companies that work to support planet destroying fossil fuel companies. Thanks to 

Advertising / PR

The annual advertising and pr awards

An alternative award to those companies working to spread 'good' stories about the oil and gas companies.

Last night (13 Oct) Extinction Rebellion disrupted the prestigious 2022 PR Week Awards, holding a colourful alternative ceremony at the venue and attacking the hypocrisy and ghastly greenwashing activities of PR companies who hide their links working with some of the world’s worst polluters and their funders.

Protests at the awards: The protest targeted global communicators such as Edelmann, IPG and WPP and the work they do greenwashing the most dangerous companies in the world – including Shell and Saudi Aramco. The event underlined how PR agencies are complicit in accelerating climate breakdown.

Much of this work is even hidden from staff within agencies, so protesters had conversations with as many attendees as possible, many of whom were surprised by their agency’s client list.

Read the story here

Advertising / PR

The Advertising World Up to Its Old Tricks?

Edelmans, one of the major Ad firms promoting Fossil Fuel companies have published their own 'Trust Barometer'. Have a look here and ask yourself if Edelman have properly assessed their own contributions to Climate Chaos ?

Edelman's clients include: Shell, Exxon, chevron, Puget Sound Energy, American Fuel & Petrochemicals Manufacturers, National Mining Association, Edison Electric Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, TransCanada, Task Force on Shale Gas, SABIC, American Petroleum Institute and Shell. 

Read Clean Creatives report

Advertising / PR

The Oil and Gas companies tell stories. How good they are, how they are working for a green future and how misunderstood they are. And to do that they use the best advertising and PR companies. To spread their lies in the most creative ways possible. Annually in London the advertising awards celebrate these achievements - but there is another story to tell ....


Featuring one of the countries biggest earning sectors:

(an industry worth 10s of billions with hundreds of thousands of employees reference). 

We are in a climate crisis. The fossil fuel industry is responsible for 75% of global CO2 emissions. We can’t burn the fossil fuels we already know about; 99% of fossil fuel companies’ investment is in more oil, gas & coal. They have known about the crisis since at least the 1980s but hidden it from the public. Their strategy is Greenwash, they use PR firms to lie, deflect and blame anyone but themselves. The PR Agencies do much of this work secretly, hiding it from the public and their employees.

This must stop.   Stop talking green while acting dirty.    Action is everything.

And as a reminder of the decades the oil and gas companies have been lying - with the full and knowing support of their creative agencies.  A report in the Guardian asks "Why is meaningful action to avert the climate crisis proving so difficult? It is, at least in part, because of ads"

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So, what does this huge industry do? helps businesses, organisations, governments etc tell their stories and makes sure they're told in a positive way.  Of course that's most valuable when your business is not exactly a clean one.....

So if, for example, you are an oil and gas business it's a good idea to hire the best PR company you can to help you present an image that make you look like you're saving the planet instead of destroying it.

And there's so much money at stake almost all of the PR and advertising companies have fossil Fuel Companies for clients.

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want to know more - have look at the clean creatives website

And yes, it's a heap of Greenwash. A clever disguise ... but it's easy to see right through. Have a look on this page to see some of the more devious attempts at telling a dirty polluting story in a clean non-polluting way.

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