In a statement on Edelman’s website published on Thursday (August 7), company President and CEO Richard Edelman said the firm recognised the reality of climate change and works with clients to promote efforts towards energy efficiency and sustainable business models.

Mr Edelman said: “I want to set the record straight. Edelman recognises the reality of climate change and accepts the science behind the claim. We do not accept clients that seek to deny climate change.

“Further, we work with clients to promote their efforts to cut emissions from operations, improve energy efficiency, use alternative energy sources and build sustainable business models.”

The announcement comes as a response to a story in The Guardian earlier this week, which saw a number of top PR firms declare the view that climate change was a threat and that they would not work with clients who seek to deny climate change.

Its survey had found that a number of the top 25 global PR firms would not represent climate change deniers, including WPP, Waggener Edstrom (WE) Worldwide, Weber Shandwick, Text100, and Finn Partners.

However, Edelman’s original answers to the survey offered an ambiguous response, with a spokesperson stating that the firm took clients on a case by case basis.

The PR firm has worked with the American Petroleum Institute, the largest US trade association for the oil and natural gas industry, and the energy company E.ON.

Changing consumer behaviour

Mr Edelman’s response to the article pointed to a previous blog post he had written in July on the company’s website. In the post he wrote: “40% of Americans believe that humans are not changing the climate. There is a significant failure of communications regarding the environment.”

Yesterday’s official statement from Mr Edelman concluded: “Sustainability has moved from philanthropy/CSR to green marketing to sustainable supply chain. The next phase, and it is one where PR can play a massive role, is changing consumer behaviour. It is our job as effective PR counsellors to make that happen. We are advising our clients to operate in the smart zone, beyond minimum legal standards and above public expectations.”

Matt Field

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