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Sign of the times

UN chief appeals to marketing sector and calls for ban on fossil fuel ads

On June 5th, World Environment Day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres declared that humanity is at a "moment of truth" in the fight against climate change. Guterres spoke directly to advertising agencies and PR companies: "Many in the fossil fuel industry have shamelessly greenwashed — even as they have sought to delay climate action — with lobbying, legal threats, and massive ad campaigns. They have been aided and abetted by advertising and PR companies."

Guterres continued: "I call on these companies to stop acting as enablers to planetary destruction. Stop taking on new fossil fuel clients, from today, and set out plans to drop your existing ones. Fossil fuels are not only poisoning our planet — they're toxic for your brand. Your sector is full of creative minds who are already mobilizing around this cause. They are gravitating towards companies that are fighting for our planet — not trashing it."

"Many governments restrict or prohibit advertising for products that harm human health, like tobacco. Some are now doing the same with fossil fuels. I urge every country to ban advertising from fossil fuel companies. And I urge news media and tech companies to stop taking fossil fuel advertising."