Clean Creatives has taken another step toward fostering accountability among advertisers in South Africa who collaborate with fossil fuel companies. The local chapter has unveiled its F-list, featuring 41 agencies and PR firms in South Africa with either current or past partnerships with fossil fuel companies such as Shell, TotalEnergies, BP, and Sasol. This kind of advertising not only distracts from critical activism efforts but also hinders the progress of vital legislation aimed at mitigating the harm caused by these companies.
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In the face of record-breaking heatwaves and mounting scientific warnings, it’s pretty clear that the advertising world must begin to reckon with its responsibility in responding to the climate crisis. Surely the days of celebrating campaigns that promote the social license of harmful polluters are numbered, at least according to Clean Creatives it is. The release of its F-List is a crucial move in Clean Creatives’ drive to inspire advertising agencies to redirect their creative talents away from creating commercials that portray fossil fuel companies in a positive light.
We get it, we were at the Loeries and understand that for many companies, the idea of declining work right now, when you are desperately trying to pay and retain staff, seems ludicrous. But Clean Creatives’ Country Director, Stephen Horn, says he’s sympathetic to the pressures the industry faces: ‘We know it’s incredibly tough right now but climate change is another growing risk that cannot be ignored. The Clean Creatives pledge is a commitment to decline future contracts with fossil fuel companies. What we’re saying is, wind down this work as quickly as possible without compromising jobs. This is about where is the line in the sand for you and your company. How long do you need to replace your fossil fuel clients with those who aren’t contributing directly to the climate catastrophe? A year? two years? What can you commit to?
We hope this list encourages companies to at least begin setting their own boundaries when it comes to partnering with fossil fuel companies. It’s essential to define what the path to a fossil-free future means for your organisation. What does your vision of a fossil-free company entail, and how do you plan to make that vision a reality? It’s time to chart a course towards a cleaner, more sustainable future in the advertising and PR industry.’
The F-List serves as a crucial conversation starter, challenging agencies to examine their ethical obligations and the impact of their choices. ‘While some agencies defend their relationships with fossil fuel clients under the guise of facilitating a transition to clean energy, the harsh reality reveals a mere 1% of their capital expenditure is allocated to renewables, while the bulk supports fossil fuel exploration and extraction,’ adds Stephen.
According to Clean Creatives SA, the aim of the F-list is not to name and shame companies. But rather to serve as a transparency tool for brands and companies wanting to work with agencies that are conscious about climate change and who will not undermine the brands’ sustainability commitments. It’s also useful for creatives who want to choose employers that are not working with fossil fuel companies contributing to the climate crisis.
Clean Creatives reports that over 700 agencies and close to 2,000 individuals from the advertising and PR sector have committed to stop working with fossil fuel companies. As more agencies join the Clean Creatives pledge to decline work with fossil fuel companies, the advertising industry can become a driving force for positive change, promoting clean creativity and environmental responsibility.
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For further media enquiries please contact:
Stephen Horn: Clean Creatives SA Country Director
Cell/WhatsApp: +27 (072) 621-0457