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Gale becomes largest agency so far to cut ties with fossil fuels for good


By Ellen Ormesher, Senior Reporter

June 20, 2023 | 4 min read

The Stagwell-owned ad agency announced at Cannes Lions it has signed the Clean Creatives pledge to divest from the world’s biggest polluters.

Fossil fuel protest

Gale has announced it’s boycotting fossil fuel clients for the foreseeable future

Media agency Gale has become the first network business agency, as well as the largest agency by headcount, to sign up for the Clean Creatives anti-fossil fuel client pledge.

Brad Simms, Gale’s chief exec took to the stage in Cannes today at the Next Level Climate Summit at Cannes Lions to announce the agency’s reinforced commitment to sustainability.

With a workforce of over 750 people, across New York, Toronto and Bengaluru, Gale becomes the largest of over 600 agencies that have now signed the Clean Creatives pledge to refuse work from fossil fuel companies and their trade associations and front groups.

“Gale signing the Clean Creatives pledge is a commitment to the most important thing we have: our planet. Refusing to work with fossil fuel companies is the least we can do to support our future. This pledge represents our commitment to sustainability and progress in climate change and we hope it inspires other agencies to do the same,“ says Simms.

While Clean Creatives director Duncan Meisel adds that a commitment to not working with fossil fuel companies “shows that creative leadership and climate leadership go hand-in-hand. Great agencies are grounded in great talent, and pledging to not work with major polluters is a crucial part of providing an environment where young creatives can thrive.” He concludes that he hopes more agencies will follow suit.

The number of agencies that have taken the same pledge as Gale has been steadily growing since it launched in 2020. Back in April, the list exceeded 500; it now features over 600 agencies around the world.

Across the board, agencies that have taken the pledge tell The Drum that refusing to work with fossil fuel clients has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for them and their businesses. “We’re not doing this to send a message to anyone,” says Forsman and Bodenfors’ global CEO, Toby Southgate. “We’re doing it for us – for our people, our work and our clients. If they have a point of view that’s supportive, then great. We’re not preaching to anyone nor judging those who make different choices.”

While others emphasize the positive impact it has had on their ability to recruit and retain the best talent. Tim Frick, president of Chicago-based Mightbytes says, “Our agency is 25 years old. Over the past five to 10 years, we have noticed a significant rise in the number of potential employees wanting to work here because we’re actively making a difference. That didn’t happen 20 years ago. If you can find colleagues who share your mission and vision when they show up on the first day, so many other important things just fall into place. That’s invaluable.”

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