Clean Creatives Releases 2023 F-List and Targets PR Firms and Agencies Working With Fossil Fuel Companies
by Bill McCool on 09/21/2023 | 2 Minute Read
Clean Creatives is a collective of PR and advertising professionals working together to tackle the climate crisis. When the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) called on folks in the media world to stop doing PR and marketing campaigns for the fossil fuel industry, they took that seriously. Since then, over 600 agencies have taken the Clean Creatives’ pledge to refuse to work with clients of the Big Oil variety.
But they also have a naughty list. Or, as they call it, the F-List.
This past week, Clean Creatives released their 2023 F-List, and it’s a doozy, as it names some serious names, citing some 500 contracts from 294 advertising and PR firms.
They’re also running an OOH campaign, with posters targeted at McCann, Ogilvy, Edelman, and Publicis employees. Not only do they disclose some of the clients these groups have been working for—think BP, Shell, and the American Petroleum Institute, but they have turned it into a call to action, saying, “It’s not your fault. But you can fix it, and we can support you.” According to Clean Creatives, the best thing to do is to not work for these companies in the first place, as it can threaten an agency's reputation or recruitment efforts since they're not committed to sustainability or reversing the damaging effects of climate change.
“This year’s F-List is a snapshot of agencies in denial about the climate impact of their work for fossil fuels,” said Duncan Meisel, executive director of Clean Creatives, in the report. “Scientists and global leaders have condemned the work carried out by advertising and PR agencies to spread fossil fuel disinformation, and their warnings demand a response. This is a turning point for the industry—communications agencies that work for oil and gas clients are knowingly accelerating the global climate emergency, and their legal risks will accelerate, too. The ad and PR industry cannot continue to be this far out of step with scientific and political reality and expect to avoid backlash.”
Of course, it's not the first time Edelman has faced the ire of Clean Creatives. Last June, climate activists took to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to make their voices heard and confront the agency’s work with fossil fuel companies and their lack of investment in low-carbon technologies.
Anywho, signing that pledge might not be a terrible idea, creatives. You definitely don’t want to be on the naughty list, especially when you’ve previously promised not to work with climate change deniers.