PR giant Edelman is under fire in the US after it emerged as one of the highest-paid vendors in 2022 for the Charles Koch Foundation, despite its series of climate change declarations.
The Charles Koch Foundation is run by Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries which deals in oil, gas and mined commodities.
Duncan Meisel, executive director of Clean Creatives, shared the Koch Foundation’s 990 tax disclosure with The Guardian and said Edelman was “out of step” with its climate commitments as a result of the relationship.
An Edelman spokesperson said that the agency’s relationship with the Koch Foundation ended a year ago but Meisel said that the firm was working with Koch “well after” it issued its climate statements. Edelman made its first formal declaration to stop working on campaigns that deny global warming in 2014.
The contract with the Koch Foundation was worth just over $US100,000 ($AU150,000) which is small fry for a firm like Edelman. However, Christine Arena, a former EVP at Edelman added that her former employer had been inconsistent in its statements and work.
“What we’ve seen consistently is a mismatch between what Edelman says and what’s actually done,” said Arena, who now works in social impact film-making.
Edelman’s current Climate Principles are:
1. Work with those committed to accelerating action to Net Zero and in compliance with the Paris Accords.
2. Put science and facts first.
3. Advance best practices and standards for climate communications.
4. Ensure inclusivity.
5. Focus on a just transition.
6. Hold ourselves accountable.
Eisel added that Edelman’s work did “not necessarily reflect the full extent” of its work with the wider Koch Network.
“The firm may have signed larger contracts with the multinational conglomerate Koch Industries, but because that is a for-profit company, it does not have to disclose its financials. Edelman did not respond to questions about involvement with other programs within the Koch network,” he told The Guardian.
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