"Greenwashing" is on the rise as a growing number of companies use PR to burnish dubious green credentials.
Wall Street has joined the fun as asset management firms roll out funds that put their money into companies committed to environmental, social and governance issues.
Since ESG is a subjective matter, it's all a crap shoot.
The Securities and Exchange Commission rolled out guidance to public companies regarding existing disclosure requirements as they apply to climate change matters in 2010.
Much has changed over the past decade.
The SEC staff is updating that guidance and is engaging with public companies on these issues, and absorbing critical lessons on how the market is currently managing climate-related risks, according to its website.
The Economist surveyed 20 top ESG funds and found some of their lofty claims were nothing but hot air.
Each invested in 17 fossil-fuel producers. Six of them invested in ExxonMobil, the favorite whipping boy of the environmental community.
Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest oil producer, followed ExxonMobil in the ESG portfolio.
The Economist suggests that investors should dodge ESG claims, since only 30 percent of companies generate the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
And five percent of that group (oil companies, cement and mining companies) generate 80 percent of emissions.
Environmental investors should focus on pure-play renewable energy companies or firms with promising earth-saving technologies and avoid all the green PR hype.
Congratulations to supremely talented Chris Foster for landing the CEO job at the Omnicom Public Relations Group.
As OPRG interim chairman John Doolittle noted in the press release, "Chris comes to us with significant, hands-on agency leadership experience."
Left unsaid is the name of that agency: BCW and its predecessor Burson-Marsteller, which is owned by WPP.
Omnicom employs hundreds of PR people at FleishmanHillard, Ketchum, Porter Novelli, Cone, Portland, Marina Maher Communications and Mercury.
It's remarkable that Omnicom CEO John Wren had to reach out to an outsider to run the PR operation.
Of course, Wren may have felt the need for an outsider's perspective to restore some zip to the PR unit, which suffered a 4.9 percent drop in Q1 revenues to $317M. That performance followed a 1.9 percent dip in Q4 revenues to $351M.
Wren also took his sweet time filling the OPRG CEO spot, which was not exactly a ringing endorsement of PR.
Former OPRG CEO Karen van Bergen left in January 2020 for the dean job of Omnicom University. She was a homegrown talent, serving as CEO of Porter Novelli and executive VP at FleishmanHillard.
Perhaps Wren was right to raid the ranks of BCW.
Vladimir Putin isn't going to be inducted into the PR Hall of Fame any time soon.
His latest PR shenanigans involved destroying the reputation of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, apparently to boost the prospects of Russia's Sputnik V shot.
The Guardian reports that a shady London-based PR firm staffed with management from Moscow and founded by a Russian entrepreneur allegedly offered cash to bloggers and influencers to trash the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Fazze, which had called itself an "influencer marketer platform," claimed it was based on Percy Street though it was not registered there.
After reports surfaced about Fazze's skullduggery, it closed its website on May 24 and made its Instagram private.
On to the next PR hit job?