What PR firms dodged The Guardian's poll about working for climate deniers? Why did they run for cover? What are they hiding?
Or, are they willing to cash lucrative checks from the anti-global warming lobby? After all, doesn't everybody deserve PR representation? Howard Paster, the late CEO of Hill & Knowlton, once told me his firm would take on all comers—except tobacco companies and Hooters. Is climate change the new Hooters?
Britain's Guardian published a very-well received piece Aug. 4 about whether PR firms would work for the handful but well-funded and very noisy groups that deny climate change. They get barrels of media ink to cast a shred of doubt on global warming, one of the top issues of the day.
The Guardian credits PR firms for playing a "critical role over the years in framing the debate on climate change and its solution—as well as the extensive disinformation campaigns launched to block those initiatives."
That track record led the Guardian and Climate Investigations Centre to poll the top 25 PR firms about whether they would represent clients who deny man-made climate change or take campaigns seeking to block regulations limiting carbon pollutions.
Only ten firms responded to the survey. Weber Shandwick, Finn Partners, Text100, Waggener Edstrom, Burson-Marsteller and Ogilvy Public Relations made the honor role, issuing flat statements ruling out work for deniers of climate change.
Edelman, Qorvis Communications, MSL played up their strong internal programs to reduce carbon footprints, while not completely ruling out representing climate deniers.
Each firm is applauded for responding to the Guardian inquiry. It’s the 15 survey dodgers who do a disservice to PR.
The Guardian should publish their names. In the spirit of transparency and openness, the missing 15 should explain themselves.
PR has a huge opportunity to raise awareness of the dangers presented by global warming.
Vis-à-vis the rest of the world, the American public is woefully uninformed about climate change.
For PR, the national global warming education program is the right thing to do.