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World’s largest PR firm ditches coal clients

World’s largest PR firm

Creative Commons: Mario Goebbels, 2014

Coal’s list of friends is quickly dwindling, as the world’s biggest public relations company has chosen to end its relationship with coal producers, and climate change deniers.

In documents obtained by the Guardian this week, Edelman said it would be excluded clients linked to coal and climate denial, as well as fake front groups that oppose climate action, citing a threat to the company’s legitimacy and its bottom line.

Edelman’s reported earnings stand at around $833 million and the company has played a critical role in shaping public opinion in the US and globally about climate change.

The company has hit the headlines in recent months. Following negative publicity about its work on behalf of oil lobbyists and pipeline companies, the firm joined a handful of other PR companies to confirm they will no longer do business with climate deniers.

This was quickly followed by moves to end the firm’s relationship with pipeline company TransCanada and with lobbying group American Petroleum Institute.

The new approach is the result of a two-year review of Edelman’s operations aimed at protecting what the company calls its “licence to lead”.

Michael Stewart, the president and chief executive of Edelman Europe told the Guardian:

On climate denial and coal those are where we just said this is absolutely a no-go area. “When you are trying in some way to obfuscate the truth or use misinformation and half-truths that is what we would consider getting into the work of greenwashing, and that is something we would never propose or work we would support our client doing.

The company made no promises on representing companies that have fought against regulations cutting carbon pollution.

Clients involved in Arctic drilling and the Alberta tar sands will not be excluded. There was also no discussion about dropping other oil and gas producers.

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