Edelman's Tango with Fossil Free Media
Is it your duty to turn down business when it doesn’t promote humanity’s well-being?
That’s what the internet is asking Edelman, the world’s biggest PR firm, over its representing oil giant ExxonMobil.
With millions of dollars in client fees to sate public interest and prevent too many feathers from getting ruffled, firms like Edelman aren’t exactly eager to divest from strategic partners, even when their business model is at odds with the future of the human race.
.@EdelmanPR is the world’s largest PR firm. @ExxonMobil is their client. Together they sell stories that destroy our health, our climate, our world. So we’re telling Edelman to drop Exxon. Edelman will be fine. Hopefully Exxon won’t. #EdelmanDropExxon https://t.co/WMtH5V8LpT— Alycia Debnam-Carey (@DebnamCarey) November 9, 2021
Earth is getting hotter, and fossil fuels are the undisputed cause. Using market research and advertising media to sway public opinion in favor of prolonged oil dependence is wrong in about every possible way. Not only do most Americans prefer sustainable businesses, but the science is loud and clear that our very survival depends on divesting from fossil fuels and switching to clean energy.
This is where the world of us normal people departs from the business world.
Edelman does more fossil fuel business than any other PR firm. In 2019, they earned over $4 million from a single petroleum advocacy group to advance a pro-oil agenda. Were their efforts successful? Considering how the U.S. issued 2,500 fracking permits to drill on both public and tribal lands – the highest level since President George W. Bush – it seems so. Meanwhile, Edelman’s website boasts a comprehensive plan to ramp up social responsibility initiatives, including “investing in a sustainable future.” You can watch the campaign video below.
Their Business Is Our Business
It’d be easier to let bygones be bygones if Edelman’s PR expertise weren’t so effective at keeping fossil fuels relevant. Environmental responsibility in this age means taking a firm stance against all companies and institutions fighting to keep us in the past. There’s no other ethical choice at this point.
The hashtag #EdelmanDropExxon was introduced by Clean Creatives as a way to call out companies who work with polluter clients. They maintain an extensive list of coal, oil and gas corporations as well as the firms that work with them, and Edelman’s work is a common thread throughout.
Will social media backlash be enough for a PR titan like Edelman to cut such a major source of revenue? We sure hope so.