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Edelman criticized for reviewing, not dropping, client Exxon

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By Ellen Ormesher | Reporter

November 16, 2021 | 3 min read

Edelman, the world’s largest PR firm, has announced a 60-day review of its client roster under a new sustainability strategy that also includes the creation of a head of climate position – but pressure is mounting to drop Exxon from its list of clients.

Climate crisis

Edelman worked with Exxon on a campaign to turn consumers against climate policy

Following Cop26, activist group Clean Creatives is condemning the agency for its work with major fossil fuels corp Exxon. Alongside The Slow Factory, it released a public statement co-signed by 100+ creators, experts and advocates including actor Sir Michael Caine, comedian Amy Schumer and author and social activist Naomi Klein.

Edelman has come under fire for its work with Exxon. The accusations say that Exxon uses social media ads to turn consumers against climate policy. The ads form part of Exxon’s Exxchange platform and calls on users to oppose corporate tax hikes for fossil fuel companies. The move follows previous revelations that Exxon has aggressively fought science to deny climate change in order to maximize profit and shareholder return.

Duncan Meisel, director of Clean Creatives, said: “Edelman ran millions of dollars of ads for Exxon opposing climate action in Congress, major legislation has stalled and left the US delegation empty-handed at the climate talks in Glasgow. Edelman should take the opportunity of this review to end their work for the polluters responsible for climate disaster.”

Jungwon Kim from Slow Factory said that Edelman’s response to the open letter is “a textbook corporate tactic to delay meaningful action.”

She continued: “In the face of our global crisis, climate delay is climate denial. No PR firm can spin the reality that inaction on fossil fuel extraction poses an existential risk to our collective future.”

There will be an update on whether Edelman opts to drop Exxon on January 10, followed by Edelman’s first climate report in June.

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