Pressure group targets ad agencies working for fossil fuel companies

By our News Team | 2021

The fossil fuel industry pours big money into ad campaigns and greenwashing. Now the creative industries backing them are under fire.

Many marketing agencies have already pledged not to work with tobacco companies. One advocacy group is now calling out the creative agencies that work with fossil fuel companies. 

Jamie Henn, a co-founder of the climate group, launched Fossil Free Media for a cause. That cause was to give public relations and communications support to grassroots groups taking on the fossil fuel industry and campaigning for climate justice.

Fossil Free Media is trying to change the wider PR and advertising industry through its Clean Creatives campaign, pressuring agencies to break their ties with the fossil fuel industry.

How advertising agencies help legitimise the fossil fuel industry

“We realised that we weren’t going to be effective if, at the same time, the fossil fuel industry was able to pour tens of millions of dollars behind its own propaganda efforts,” explains Henn. 

“Clean Creatives emerged out of a sense of frustration. Every time climate activists launch a campaign, here comes a multimillion-dollar effort to push back: fake websites, front groups or fake studies about how fossil fuel divestment will destroy the economy.” 

Clean Creatives was a way to try to begin to dismantle the fossil fuel industry’s ability to spread disinformation. This is its attempt to go after the wordsmiths and creatives that greenwash the industry.

“It’s an effort that really tries to appeal to people within the advertising and PR world. We say, look, you probably got into this for reasons of wanting to do creative work or wanting to make the world a better place. But creativity has consequences: if you are making a flashy ad that’s greenwashing a fossil fuel company, it doesn’t matter how creative it is, or how pretty it is, [because] it’s doing real damage,” says Henn.

“We are asking them to take a pledge to stop working with fossil fuel clients. More than 100 PR and ad agencies have signed up [globally].” 


Source: The Guardian, UK