DeSmog

Holding the Advertising and Public Relations Industry Accountable for Greenwash and Climate Misinformation

About the Series

When it comes to identifying the culprits responsible for the delay and denial of climate solutions, most people are likely to think of fossil fuel companies rather than the slick world of advertising and public relations. But in the words of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, a “massive public relations machine” is “raking in billions to shield the fossil fuel industry from scrutiny.”

We take readers inside the world’s most influential creative and reputation management firms to show just how deep their ties with Big Oil run, and expose where lofty climate rhetoric runs afoul of commercial realities. And we document the struggles of a younger generation of climate-conscious employees to steer their industry onto a sustainable path — despite resistance from the top.

In This Series

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Internal documents unearthed by a U.S. Senate panel show the oil giant modeled up to 500 CCS sites operating globally by 2050, far fewer than rival Shell. 

Internal documents unearthed by a U.S. Senate panel show the oil giant modeled up to 500 CCS sites operating globally by 2050, far fewer than rival Shell. 

Campaigners likened the fossil fuel company’s patronage of climate events to letting an “arsonist sponsor a fire safety conference”.

Campaigners likened the fossil fuel company’s patronage of climate events to letting an “arsonist sponsor a fire safety conference”.
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BP sees sponsored content as a crucial tool to reach “Washington, DC, elites,” according to subpoenaed memos.

BP sees sponsored content as a crucial tool to reach “Washington, DC, elites,” according to subpoenaed memos.
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Despite calls to stop representing polluters, Edelman will continue to promote one of the world’s biggest producers of oil and gas.

Despite calls to stop representing polluters, Edelman will continue to promote one of the world’s biggest producers of oil and gas.
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Campaigners charge that the ads are misleading the public about the proposed project’s likely climate harms.

Campaigners charge that the ads are misleading the public about the proposed project’s likely climate harms.
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Advertorials and a podcast vanish as regulators consider greenwashing complaint against the state-owned oil giant.

Advertorials and a podcast vanish as regulators consider greenwashing complaint against the state-owned oil giant.
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It’s an effort by the oil sands group to deflect attention away from a long record of misleading climate claims, disinformation expert argues.

It’s an effort by the oil sands group to deflect attention away from a long record of misleading climate claims, disinformation expert argues.
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Insiders fear that conflicts of interest on the boards of the six largest communications firms are quashing effective climate action.

Insiders fear that conflicts of interest on the boards of the six largest communications firms are quashing effective climate action.
Opinion
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Corporations are using sport to sell the high-carbon products that are killing our winters, and now we can put a figure on the damage their money does.

Corporations are using sport to sell the high-carbon products that are killing our winters, and now we can put a figure on the damage their money does.
Analysis

Their ad campaigns for International Women’s Day champion empowerment even as climate change makes women’s lives harder and more dangerous.

Their ad campaigns for International Women’s Day champion empowerment even as climate change makes women’s lives harder and more dangerous.
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Climate accountability in creative and PR agencies is the focus of our growing team.

Climate accountability in creative and PR agencies is the focus of our growing team.
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DeSmog investigation finds multiple financial risks of work for fossil fuel clients aren't being assessed.

DeSmog investigation finds multiple financial risks of work for fossil fuel clients aren't being assessed.
Opinion
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Kick Polluters Out says the French oil major wants to sportswash climate-wrecking mega-projects.

Kick Polluters Out says the French oil major wants to sportswash climate-wrecking mega-projects.
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The protest followed a tip-off that the global comms agency may take on more work for the oil major.

The protest followed a tip-off that the global comms agency may take on more work for the oil major.

The Bolloré family’s business empire — which includes Havas, one of the world’s biggest ad agencies — has longtime ties to the fossil fuel industry.

The Bolloré family’s business empire — which includes Havas, one of the world’s biggest ad agencies — has longtime ties to the fossil fuel industry.
Analysis
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DeSmog analysis finds majority of Ad Net Zero’s accolade-winners also represent major polluters.

DeSmog analysis finds majority of Ad Net Zero’s accolade-winners also represent major polluters.
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The individuals who spoke to DeSmog said they were ‘deeply disappointed’ by the summit and had not fully understood the relationship between UAE and the organisers.

The individuals who spoke to DeSmog said they were ‘deeply disappointed’ by the summit and had not fully understood the relationship between UAE and the organisers.
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Controversies surrounding Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber have underscored the role of reputation management in climate diplomacy.

Controversies surrounding Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber have underscored the role of reputation management in climate diplomacy.

New report by DeSmog and Drilled reveals extent of commercial partnerships between trusted outlets and Big Oil.

New report by DeSmog and Drilled reveals extent of commercial partnerships between trusted outlets and Big Oil.
Opinion
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Major polluters are wielding sponsorship as a weapon to make polluting products and lifestyles appear acceptable.

Major polluters are wielding sponsorship as a weapon to make polluting products and lifestyles appear acceptable.
Opinion
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Left unaddressed, the warping of our collective consciousness by fossil industry propaganda will make it impossible to achieve the civilisation level transformation required for life as we know it to survive the 21st century.

Left unaddressed, the warping of our collective consciousness by fossil industry propaganda will make it impossible to achieve the civilisation level transformation required for life as we know it to survive the 21st century.
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The adverts “had not been prepared with a sense of responsibility to society,” regulator finds.

The adverts “had not been prepared with a sense of responsibility to society,” regulator finds.
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There is ‘growing unease’ within the PR company about its continued work for one the world’s biggest polluters.

There is ‘growing unease’ within the PR company about its continued work for one the world’s biggest polluters.
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Clean Creatives says move is "huge step backward" for the French ad and public relations company.

Clean Creatives says move is "huge step backward" for the French ad and public relations company.
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Clean Creatives’ ‘F-List’ reveals links between creative agencies and polluting industries around the world.

Clean Creatives’ ‘F-List’ reveals links between creative agencies and polluting industries around the world.
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Edelman earned millions polishing the UAE’s green image — which helped propel Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber to the top levels of climate diplomacy.

Edelman earned millions polishing the UAE’s green image — which helped propel Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber to the top levels of climate diplomacy.

A Filipino grandma with two million followers is among the hundreds of influencers who have posted content promoting fossil fuel giants.

A Filipino grandma with two million followers is among the hundreds of influencers who have posted content promoting fossil fuel giants.

Some of the world’s biggest polluters are paying social media celebrities and environmentalists to promote their brands to billions of people.

Some of the world’s biggest polluters are paying social media celebrities and environmentalists to promote their brands to billions of people.
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New report details how more “climate-washing” lawsuits and complaints are being filed against corporations’ greenwashing than ever before, and experts warn complicit PR and ad firms could face legal risks.

New report details how more “climate-washing” lawsuits and complaints are being filed against corporations’ greenwashing than ever before, and experts warn complicit PR and ad firms could face legal risks.
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Weber Shandwick also hosted a roundtable on “authentic” climate communication.

Weber Shandwick also hosted a roundtable on “authentic” climate communication.
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Climate activist Tolmeia Gregory sparked a social media sensation when she challenged a Shell executive at last year's festival. Now she's back, and urging other creatives to take disruptive action.

Climate activist Tolmeia Gregory sparked a social media sensation when she challenged a Shell executive at last year's festival. Now she's back, and urging other creatives to take disruptive action.