Some of the world’s biggest PR firms have publicly ruled out working with climate change sceptics. The Guardian reports that a number of the top 25 global PR firms responded to a survey saying that they would never represent clients who are sceptical of man-made global warming, or oppose green energy initiatives.
Some of the companies include WPP, Waggener Edstrom (WE) Worldwide, Weber Shandwick, Text100 and Finn Partners.
Rhian Rotz, a spokeswoman for Waggener Edstrom, said: “We would not knowingly partner with a client who denies the existence of climate change.”
Weber Shandwick said they would not take on any campaign against renewable energy or carbon controls. “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,” a spokeswoman said.
She added, however: “There may be scenarios in which we could represent a client that has different views on climate change, just not on this issue.”
WPP said that taking on any client who disputes man-made global warming would violate the company’s guidelines: “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.”
US-based Edelman, however, did not explicitly rule out taking on climate sceptics. Spokesman Michael Bush said: “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.” He added that Edelman takes on clients on a case-by-case basis.
Finn Partners’ managing partner, Peter Finn, said: “Finn Partners would not work on any campaigns that deny the reality of climate change nor would we take on a campaign that would obstruct regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or renewable energy standards.”
The firms were responding to separate surveys by the Guardian and the Washington-based Climate Investigations Center, a group who “monitor” opponents of green policies.
Founder Kert Davies is unhappy with PR firms working for major energy lobby groups, such as the American Petroleum Institute, which oppose Barack Obama’s climate change policies.
“For the majority of them, they would rather remain neutral on any issue. They don’t want to have positions on anything because they like to keep options open to take on any client who walks in the door,” Davies said.
“They pretend they are above the fray and they are not involved, and yet they are the ones designing ad campaigns, designing lobbying campaigns, and designing the messages their clients want to convey around climate change.”