Climate deniers and coal producers will have to look elsewhere for help burnishing their public images after global PR giant Edelman announced it would no longer accept their business.
“The exclusion of coal and climate denial, as well as fake front groups that oppose action on global warming, is outlined in internal communications obtained by the Guardian and confirmed by company executives,” the paper reports. “It signals an important shift in a company that reported earnings of $US833 million (£540 million) and has played a critical role in shaping public opinion in the U.S. and globally about climate change.”
“On climate denial and coal, those are where we just said this is absolutely a no-go area,” said Edelman’s President and CEO for Europe, Michael Stewart. “When you are trying in some way to obfuscate the truth or use misinformation and half-truths, that is what we would consider getting into the work of greenwashing, and that is something we would never propose or work we would support our client doing.”
Last fall, the firm developed plans for a “pseudo-grassroot campaign” in support of TransCanada’s controversial Energy East Pipeline, but subsequently dropped Energy East and the American Petroleum Institute as clients.
Edelman will not extend its ban to companies engaged in Arctic drilling or tar sands/oil sands production, Stewart said. “To simply try and carve out carbon production from the overall energy mix in one fell swoop is just not part of the mainstream discourse, and not something we considered.”
In July, The Guardian reported that Edelman had lost at least four executives and at least two clients because of its “unwillingness to take a strong stand on climate change.”