fossil fuels

Climate activists protest outside the New York State Supreme Court building on October 22, 2019 in New York City.

(Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

Over 500 Creative Agencies Have Now Pledged Not to Work for Fossil Fuel Industry

"The question for executives at other agencies is simple: Do you want to be a leader in this transition, or will you be left behind by it?"

Clean Creatives, the campaign for public relations and advertising professionals who want to stop fueling the climate crisis, on Thursday announced a major milestone: 500 agencies worldwide have "committed to refusing work with fossil fuel polluters."

Launched in late 2020, Clean Creatives seeks to raise awareness of the harmful greenwashing strategies used by fossil fuel companies and the advertising and PR agencies they hire.

"The advertising industry is changing, and these agencies are at the forefront of a historic shift away from polluting clients. They are showing that you can grow a powerful creative business without relying on fossil fuel clients," Clean Creatives executive directorDuncan Meisel said in a statement.

"The question for executives at other agencies is simple: Do you want to be a leader in this transition, or will you be left behind by it?" Meisel added. "Our industry's brightest minds are ready to come together to address the climate crisis, and we hope these pledges inspire others to join us in this effort."

Clean Creatives publishes an annual report detailing the PR and advertising firms working for the fossil fuel industry. It has also circulated an open letter signed by 273 creative professionals under age 30 who have promised to not work with fossil fuel clients. Clean Creatives has also teamed up with the Union of Concerned Scientists on a letter signed by 450 scientists condemning PR and ad agencies with fossil fuel clients.

Furthermore, the campaign has partnered with brands including Seventh Generation and Ben and Jerry's, with whom it gave away climate-themed ice cream at South by Southwest 2023. Clean Creatives has also staged online and live demonstrations, including at last year's Cannes Lions Festival.

"Every agency still working with fossil fuel clients is putting their reputations on the line," Meisel contended. "Fossil fuel companies are walking away from their renewable energy investments and net-zero goals that ad and PR agencies have helped promote. They use big industry players to spout misinformation, putting the creatives at those agencies in serious ethical dilemmas while leading scientists describe how catastrophic the product is for life on Earth."

"Our campaign is holding agencies accountable," he added. "We believe that as the pledge number grows, we can continue to create a community for those ready to do honest and clean work as we look to create a more sustainable future."

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