Recently we reported on the large number of publicity firms willing to represent foreign dictators (turns out London has cornered the market on that demographic).
There’s one group of clients that our colleagues across the pond won’t touch, however: climate change deniers.
- “We would not knowingly partner with a client who denies the existence of climate change,” said Rhian Rotz, spokesman for Waggener Edstrom (WE) Worldwide.
- “We would not support a campaign that denies the existence and the threat posed by climate change, or efforts to obstruct regulations cutting greenhouse gas emissions and/or renewable energy standards,” said Weber Shandwick spokeswoman Michelle Selesky.
- “We ensure that our own work complies with local laws, marketing codes and our own code of business conduct. These prevent advertising that is intended to mislead and the denial of climate change would fall into this category,” said the UK-based WPP (parent company of Burson Marsteller and Oglivy Public Relations).
Along with Text100 and Finn Partners, WE, WPP and Weber Shandwick were five of the top 25 global PR firms surveyed who told the Guardian they will not represent clients who deny man-made climate change or take campaigns seeking to block regulations limiting carbon pollution.
Why is this important?
According to Kert Davies, founder of the Washington-based Climate Investigations Center, which partnered on the survey:
“The PR industry is a major component of the influence peddling industry that stretches across Washington and the world, and they are making large sums of money from energy companies and other important players that have businesses connected to fossil fuels and energy policy.”
And from James Hoggan, founder of the DeSmogBlog, whose tagline reads Clearing the PR Pollution That Clouds Climate Science:
“I think that public relations people are right at the elbow of powerful people in industry and government. You are an insider – a very trusted insider – and you can have a huge influence. It really does matter. These are influential organizations.”
This PRNewser agrees!
In the article, Suzanne Goldenberg calls out the US-based Edelman (whose client list includes the American Petroleum Institute) as one of those surveyed who did not explicitly rule out taking on climate deniers as clients.
Is your company on the list? Why or why not?
For a full list of those surveyed, hop on over to the Climate Investigation Center’s PR Industry Climate Survey.
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