While the world prepares for a winter of escalating energy prices due to increased demand and policy agendas that have choked off supply, the campaign to try and delegitimize companies in the oil and natural gas sector continues – this time in the ad agency space.
A new group who call themselves Clean Creatives has been slowly generating noise in American media and we should expect them to enter Canada’s borders soon. Their aim is to have ad agencies and creatives pledge to never do work for companies involved with the “fossil fuel industry”.
They have a hit list of American-based companies on their website already and they boast of at least 182 agencies who have already taken a pledge of support. They even threaten that companies could be seen as “liable” in future legal suits against the industry writ large if they don’t add their names.
It’s the same – and at times effective – playbook that has been used against the industry on the ESG and pipeline battles. It tars an entire industry under the same brush and in doing so aims to threaten the reputations of any company or individual that does business in the industry along the supply chain or with direct services.
While it shouldn’t need to be mentioned, it’s not a rational argument and does more harm than good.
In Canada, the industry and companies involved are on the cutting edge of environmental progress. If lofty policy goals to reach net-zero are achieved within a generation, it won’t be because of government pressure, it will be because of the technological innovation of folks in Canada’s energy sector making drastic reductions in carbon outputs while being a reliable, safe, and dependable supplier to meet the world’s ever expanding hunger for energy.
Today, Canada’s oil and industry is responsible for less than 0.3 per cent of global emissions yet it will be the industry that will play a leading role in reducing the other 99.7 per cent of emissions around the world.
In the last 15 years, companies like Cenovus have already reduced emissions per barrel by 30 per cent. Shell’s carbon capture facility has already taken 5 million tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere with a new project on the way that will store 300 million tonnes of carbon.
It’s not just on carbon emissions. Suncor reclaimed a former tailings pond into a wetland. I was fortunate enough to see it for myself and it’s a modern miracle of technology and innovation spurred on by engineers and biologists who made it possible. The Beaver Creek Wood Bison Ranch is reclaimed land managed by Syncrude that has hosted bison herds for now nearly 30 years, something that would be inconceivable in almost any other jurisdiction in the world.
These are stories any creative or ad agency should be proud to tell. Frankly, the world needs to know more about how Canada’s oil and gas industry operates so they know just how much environmental progress can be achieved.
Folks in Alberta for the past several years have shown their pride in these stories and this sector.
Today, I’m happy to add my name as a creative and as someone who represents an agency in Crestview Strategy to say that we support the industry. We hope other agencies will speak out too and that others will think twice before they pen their name to vanity online and American-based pledge campaigns.
True environmental progress depends on it.
Evan Menzies is a Senior Campaign Strategist with Crestview Strategy.