450 scientists call on PR companies to drop carbon clients

Over 450 scientists have signed a letter calling on public relations and advertising agencies to stop working with fossil fuel companies.

The letter comes days after Edelman, the world’s largest PR firm, says that science will guide its decisions about ongoing work with high polluting clients.

“As scientists who study, and seek to communicate, the realities of the climate emergency on both the planet and people, we are constantly faced with the challenge of overcoming advertising and PR efforts by fossil fuel companies that seek to obfuscate or downplay our data, and the risk of the climate emergency. In fact, these campaigns represent one of the biggest barriers to the government action science shows is necessary to mitigate the ongoing climate emergency, and avert total disaster,” the letter states.

The letter was organised by a group of leading scientists in partnership with the Clean Creatives campaign and the Union of Concerned Scientists and comes at a time of mounting pressure on PR and advertising agencies to stop working with fossil fuel companies to spread climate disinformation. A first-of-its-kind, peer reviewed study published in the scientific journal Climatic Change this December identified hundreds of campaigns by PR, advertising and marketing firms designed to obstruct climate action. Yet a number of PR and advertising agencies have defended their work with fossil fuel clients as helping those companies address the climate crisis, and as the letter points out, any work with clients planning to expand fossil fuel production was counterproductive and could be seen as greenwashing.

Clean Creatives will be sending the scientist letter to other top PR and advertising agencies including Edelman, WPP, and IPG. They will also be sending it to some of the agencies’ largest sustainability-oriented clients such as Unilever, Amazon, Microsoft and North Face.

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