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. Link here

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Revealed: leading climate research publisher helps fuel oil and gas drilling

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Ever wondered how misinformation gets 'out there'?

How does it work if one of the leading publishers of scientific peer-revered information is also one of the leading publishers of books aimed at expanding fossil fuel production. You might thing those 2 things would be incompatible inside a company (It's not at all easy to find Elsevier's Environmental and Sustainability Strategy)  but possibly as long as they can shift a pile of books they don't care much about what's in them?

Read the article in the Guardian here

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the kings and queens of eternal growth speak out:

"This report [the rise and rise of the global balance sheet] contributes to MGI’s (Mckinsey Global Institute) mission to help business and policy leaders understand the forces transforming the global economy and prepare for the next wave of grow th.

The report, The rise and rise of the global balance sheet: How productively are we using our wealth?, looks at the underlying health and resilience of the global economy after two decades of financial turbulence and more than ten years of heavy central bank intervention, punctuated by the pandemic. It found much to be grateful for, particularly that global net worth more than tripled between 2000 and 2020."


How on earth don't they see the escalating environmental crisis growing out of control in that same period? And they are supposed to be business leaders .....

any mention that nature should be the first item on any global balance sheet in the 180 page report? what a surprise.

The World Economic Forum analyzed 163 industry sectors and their supply chains and found over half of the world’s GDP is moderately or highly dependent on nature and its services. Highly dependent industries generate 15 percent of global GDP ($13 trillion), while moderately dependent ones generate 37 percent ($31 trillion). Despite this reliance, human behavior continues to push species into extinction, reduce the world’s acreage of forests and deplete the water supply. [Read here: Greenbiz]

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the ad world sits up - will it act ?

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.


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

the F-list 2021

NY, 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. 

Read all about it here.

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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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

Trash on Beach

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

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"

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."

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

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


WPP: 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.


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. While sky-darkening brushfires have become a regular occurrence in the past few years, they’re sending messages like this:


"CALTEX AUSTRALIA: Protecting the environment is a key priority for us. Since converting the Kurnell refinery into an import terminal we have created innovative ways to protect the environment including successful bioremediation on site. "


Netherlands Officials Tell Shell to Stop Its Ads Greenwashing ‘Carbon Neutral' Fuel (


@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


@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.



For the full list have a look here:

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Trash on Beach

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.”


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.  

paid millions by Fossil Fuel Group on BuzzFeedNews

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Reuters: have they started doing pr for the fossil fuel industry ?

NEW DELHI, March 7 (Reuters) - Coal India's (COAL.NS)operations aim to become net zero in three to four years, its chairman said, [wait for it ....] although this does not extend to emissions from burning coal it produces.

Read the story here

We know the reputation of news companies and journalists is based on reporting stories accurately but surely when they come across a load of nonsense like this is should also be a part of their job to say to the company ... 'hang on a minute Coal India - that's not what's meant by net zero' 

Maybe we could introduce Coal India to Heathrow or Bristol airports who think they can be classed as green or net zero by only counting the things they want to.

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