How did this letter start?
This has been brewing since 2015 when the change-agency Futerra published the world’s first Client Disclosure Report during COP21 in Paris. Then in May 2019 the Extinction Rebellion folks reminded the advertising, PR and marketing industries they hadn’t been forgotten.
This letter was spearheaded by Futerra as a response, and a few friends in other agencies agreed to join. Then it snowballed.
What’s the aim?
Creatives and communicators are already changing the narrative about climate change and ecological crisis. That’s the work we’re all passionate about.
But too many advertising, creative, public relations, marketing and digital agencies are still ‘playing both sides’ and treating their role as neutral. They have some clients for climate solutions and yet they also run campaigns for fossil fuels.
The first step to changing that is honesty – for agencies to be transparent about who pays their bills.
Our the ultimate goal is to divest creative talent from destruction.
Who is signing?
This letter is an invitation, the beginning of a conversation across the entire industry. Both agencies and individual creatives are signing every day.
Can I sign?
If you lead an agency, by signing you promise to disclose your turnover by sector, and highlight any climate conflicts. Check the Client Disclosure Reports on this site to see what we mean. Your deadline is end 2019 to disclose.
If you are an individual working, or planning to work, in this industry, then by signing your declare you won’t work on fossil fuel clients. No one is policing you or checking up, this is a promise to yourself.
What is the definition of a ‘high carbon client’?
What about the businesses in these industries who are trying to be sustainable?
Take a look at the Client Disclosure Reports already posted online. In those, the agency declares they turnover with a high-carbon client, but they also explain the work.
We have to be honest about who pays our bills, but we can also give context to the work we actually did.
The global economy runs on fossil fuels, why do agencies need to take the blame?
We strongly believe agencies have to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. We are a $1.3 trillion sector, after all.
These disclosures bring agencies in line with other industries, all who report their ‘material’ impact on the world. We have to respect the climate and ecological science, just like everyone else.
What’s the problem this will solve?
There is still too much climate confusion and denial, some obviously sown with professional help.
No one gets to be neutral when it comes to climate change, the agency world has to do our bit as well.
Has anyone validated your disclosure methodology?
Not yet, but we have approached the experts for help with the next steps.