As long as I can remember few public relations firms have taken a stand on political issues. Yes, many firms have done cause related marketing – whether it’s pro bono work, donations, adopting charities, and so forth. But things are changing. PR Daily just reported that ten of the world’s largest firms ranging from Weber Shandwick and Edelman to Finn Partners and WPP and others have vowed not to partner with companies that deny that man made climate change exists. The agencies made those assertions in response to a survey conducted by The Guardian and the Washington D.C.-based Climate Investigations Center.
“We would not support a campaign that denies the existence and the threat posed by climate change, or efforts to obstruct regulations cutting greenhouse gas emissions and/or renewable energy standards,” Weber Shandwick spokeswoman Michelle Selesky said.
Some firms questioned in the survey wouldn’t answer the question but emphasized their environmental initiatives.
This stance is no small thing considering that many global firms have energy companies and other clients connected to fossil fuels.
I applaud the courage of the firms that did this as it’s not just a question of losing opportunities to work with companies in the energy business, but also, it could be off putting to others who don’t believe in global warming and thus a potential source of further lost business opportunities.
As you can imagine, the announcement sparked a spirited online debate. It’s admirable that the public relations industry is taking on one of the major issues of our time and is willing to take a stand.
Blogpost by Karen Weiner Escalera