Oil giants spend more on PR and less on climate-change action – claim

By our News Team | 2022

Oil companies spend big on ‘green’ PR, but only 12% of their average capital expenditure on low-carbon investments, research finds.

The world’s largest oil companies are spending huge sums to portray themselves as taking action on climate change, but they are spending comparatively far less on actually developing low-carbon activities that will benefit the planet.

A new analysis by InfluenceMap, an energy and climate think-tank based in the UK, claims the climate-positive messaging by BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and TotalEnergies does not tally with their actions on the ground.


Image by Marcin from Pixabay

“These companies talk about cutting emissions and transitioning the energy mix, but at the same time continue to invest heavily in new fossil fuels. While this PR strategy might convince some people, it doesn’t change the fact that these companies are out of step with science-based pathways to net zero,” said Faye Holder, a spokesperson for InfluenceMap.

She added: “The world’s big oil and gas companies are spending huge amounts of time and money talking up their ‘green’ credentials, while their business investments and lobbying activities tell a very different story.”

The think-tank’s research analysed 3,421 individual evidence items of public communication from the big oil giants during 2021. These included company and chief executive social media accounts, press releases, speeches and secondary websites intended for outreach purposes.

Categorised each message based on its narrative

It then categorised each item based on its narrative, noting that some items contained multiple messages (for example, both ‘green’ and pro-oil claims).

Overall, the report shows 60% of public messages contained at least one ‘green’ claim, such as emissions-reduction targets, transitioning the energy mix or promoting fossil gas as part of a clean-energy solution.

The report concludes there is a “systematic misalignment” between the business models and lobbying activities of oil’s big players when compared with their public relations strategies, and highlights that several of these companies are forecast to expand oil and gas production through to 2026.

In a statement to broadcaster CNN, a Shell spokesperson said the company was “already investing billions of dollars in lower-carbon energy”.

“To help alter the mix of energy Shell sells, we need to grow these new businesses rapidly,” the spokesperson said. “That means letting our customers know through advertising or social media what lower-carbon solutions we offer now or are developing, so they can switch when the time is right for them.”

A TotalEnergies spokesperson told CNN, “Our public announcements policy reflects the transformation of TotalEnergies in[to] a multi-energy company.”

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.