Clean Creatives, a movement of advertisers, PR professionals, and their clients cutting ties with fossil fuels, has released a report which reveals that 18 PR firms and ad agencies working on promoting COP28, are also working with fossil fuel polluters.
According to Clean Creatives, COP28, which is being chaired by the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and chairperson of the ADNOC-owned Masdar, is a meeting rife with double-dealing.
The body believes that the leadership is stating that it’s working on the collective future of the world, but also using this platform to expand fossil fuel pollution that causes climate change. It further claims that PR and advertising agencies have facilitated, and taken part in these rampant conflicts of interest that have done significant damage to the global climate agenda.
This follows the BBC accessing documents that found that the UAE planned to use COP28 to ‘discuss fossil fuel deals with 15 nations’ on behalf of ADNOC and promote Masdar to 20 countries.
According to Clean Creatives’ note, ADNOC intends to double its oil and gas production to five million barrels a day by 2027 and is investing USD 150 billion in expansion, despite warnings from the UN itself that countries must phase out fossil fuels.
Clean Creatives also found 18 agencies overall who have worked for COP28, the UAE, Masdar and ADNOC from 2021 to 2023.
The ten PR agencies are namely – APCO, ASDA'A BCW, CT Group, Edelman, FGS Global, First International Resources, FleishmanHillard, Omnia, Teneo and Viola Communications – were hired to promote the UAE and COP28 talks. From 2021 to 2023, they also worked on 29 other fossil fuel contracts, including nine contracts for the companies Masdar and ADNOC. Overall, these 10 agencies had 37 fossil fuel contracts, including their work for COP28 and the UAE.
A further 8 agencies – All About Brands, Boopin, Brand Lounge, Fusion5, Hill & Knowlton, Markettiers, Memac Ogilvy and Publicis Sapient MENA – held nine contracts with MASDAR and ADNOC and 18 contracts with other fossil fuel companies from 2021 to 2023 (27 in total).
The 18 agencies working on COP28, Masdar and ADNOC from 2021 to 2023 have a total of 64 known fossil fuel contracts between 2021 - 2023 (26 contracts for the UAE, COP28, Masdar and ADNOC and 38 for other fossil fuel polluters).
The report from Clean Creatives also added that the COP28 being hosted in the UAE is part of the country changing its communication strategy to present itself as a leader in renewable energy.
In 2007, the UAE hired Edelman for the same. Over two years, Edelman organised a campaign to improve the UAE’s climate reputation, from organising meetings with world leaders, including Queen Elizabeth and President George W Bush, to launch two projects: Masdar City as ‘world’s first…zero-carbon [and] zero-waste city’ and Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, a partnership with MIT.
Since then, Clean Creatives claims that the UAE has spent millions of dollars in PR and advertising campaigns to represent itself as a global leader in renewable energy, yet renewable energy consumption is only 1.38% of the nation’s overall energy mix according to The Statistic Review of World Energy.
Top news, insights and analysis every weekday
Sign up for Campaign Bulletins
Watch the film here