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Is your agency enchanted by fossil fuel clients?

A global report on the damaging effects of promoting fossil fuels has singled out Australia as being uniquely compromised by agencies lobbying for oil, gas and coal.

The joint study by Comms Declare and Clean Creatives lists the 90 advertising, marketing and PR agencies that have hampered cuts to greenhouse gas emissions and details ways they have influenced policy.

“Australia is unique because three Prime Ministers have lost their jobs for trying to limit greenhouse gases,” said Comms Declare Founder, Belinda Noble.

“A lobbying firm helped put a lump of coal into Scott Morrison’s hand in parliament. Now PR and ad companies are helping gas corporations promote and greenwash the so-called ‘gas-fired recovery’.”

“With corporate giants pumping tens of millions into sponsorships, PR, lobbying and marketing every year, it’s no wonder Australia has no net zero commitment and is playing a wrecking role in international climate negotiations.”

“The research also shows that two multinationals, WPP and Omnicom, have a significant influence in the local market. WPP has eight local agencies that represent fossil fuel companies despite its own pledge to have net zero carbon emissions by 2025,” she added.

The report also highlights the new greenwashing battleground of net zero claims.

“Fossil fuel companies are the biggest polluters, the biggest greenwashers, and the biggest opponents of life-saving climate action. There is no room for ad and PR professionals to continue promoting companies that are doing so much damage to our future,” said Duncan Meisel, director of Clean Creatives. “The most important step any agency can take to address the climate crisis is to rule out working with fossil fuel companies. We need creatives and communications experts to bring their full energy towards ending this crisis, not extending it.” 

The report finds that lobbyist Statecraft tops the list of Australian agencies, representing seven fossil fuel clients, followed by Hawker Britton with four.

Gas producer, Santos, tops clients by employing six agencies in recent years, followed by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) and Ampol, both with five. 

British multinational, WPP’s, local arm owns at least eight agencies that have fossil fuel clients. American media giant, Omnicom, owns three.

Has your agency got a habit it can’t kick?

Comms Declare is currently conducting a survey of under 30s working or studying in the communications industry in an effort to gauge the attitudes of future leaders.

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