Green washing accusations against PR firm organising COP27

Barry White

COP27 opens on 7 November in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt and marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. However, openDemocracy reveals that the US public relations firm helping Egypt organise COP27 also works for major oil companies and has been accused of green washing on their behalf.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies, which has worked for ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and Saudi Aramco, is managing communications for Egypt’s presidency of the UN climate conference.

Hill+Knowlton’s clients have also included Coca-Cola, which last month was controversially named as a sponsor of the conference despite having been declared the world’s worst corporate plastic polluter for four years in a row.

Kathy Mulvey, accountability campaign director at the Union of Concerned Scientists – a non-profit advocacy group – told openDemocracy that Hill+Knowlton had a “shameful track record of spreading disinformation” on behalf of oil companies.

“The COP presidency should use a PR firm committed to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement,” she said. “All bad actors involved in climate deception – including the PR industry – must be held accountable”.

According to openDemocracy Hill+Knowlton did not respond to requests for comments. Neither did OCGI which employs Hill+Knowlton to handle media relations, nor the COP 27 Government Egyptian spokesperson.

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