Edelman PR


Annual Income From Fees in 2012: $665,600,000

Net Fees Income from Environmental Practice in 2012: $13,678,493 (2.1% of total)

Address: 200 E Randolph Street #63 Chicago, IL 

Phone: (312) 240-3000

History and BackgroundClimate Survey Response SynopsisClimate Survey Full ResponseClients and Campaigns

Edelman History (by Sourcewatch):

Edelman is the largest independently owned PR company. In May 2012, PRWeek reported that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate legislation mill, hired Edelman to “help it deal with recent corporate fallout and opposition to its legislative positions.” Edelman was also hired by a California slaughterhouse in August 2012 after several of their biggest customers severed supply agreements upon the discovery of video footage showing animal abuse.

On July 16, 2008, activists with Oxford Climate Action blockaded Edelman’s headquarters. Several protestors gained access to the firm’s offices while others climbed onto the roof to unfurl a banner reading “Edelman: Spinning The Climate Out Of Control.” The protest was a result of the news that Edelman PR was hired by E.ON, the world’s largest investor-owned energy service provider.

Today a leader in pharmaceutical PR, in 1987 Edelman also produced a PR plan for an international tobacco industry group made up of the major worldwide tobacco companies and their associated trade organizations. In 2005 PRWeek revealed that Edelman was working with the American Petroleum Institute (API), the oil industry’s primary lobbying group.

Background Resources on Edelman PR

Climate Survey Response Synopsis

Managing Director of Global Engagement and Corporate Responsibility John Edelman responded to our survey. Although Edelman neither confirms nor denies the threat of climate change, he cites Edelman PR’s membership in the United Nations Global Compact. Edelman provides a link to the firms Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report and refers to it as the source for the answer to each question he was posed. He also stated that while Edelman PR provides a number of CSR and environmental services to its clients, he is not at liberty to discuss the details of such efforts.

We received an accidental email response to our survey from Mark Hass, then President and CEO of Edelman U.S.  Hass left Edelman in mid April, a few weeks after sending this email:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Hass, Mark <Mark.Hass@edelman.com>
Date: Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Re: Climate Investigations Center inquiry
To: Climate Investigations Center <info@climateinvestigations.org>
Cc: “Petros, Peter” <Peter.Petros@edelman.com>, “Edelman, John” <John.Edelman@edelman.com>, “Rehg, Rob” <Rob.Rehg@edelman.com>, “Bush, Michael” <Michael.Bush@edelman.com>

I don’t believe we are obligated in any way to respond. There are only wrong answers for this guy.
On Apr 4, 2014, at 10:06 AM, “Climate Investigations Center” <info@climateinvestigations.org> wrote:

Dear Mr. Hass et al.,

Attached is a letter sent to Edleman this week by USPS certified mail.

Mr. Hass’ staff quickly responded that they were working on a response to our Survey:

From: Rehg, Rob <Rob.Rehg@edelman.com>

Date: Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 12:37 PM
Subject: RE: Climate Investigations Center inquiry
To: “Hass, Mark” <Mark.Hass@edelman.com>, Climate Investigations Center <info@climateinvestigations.org>
Cc: “Petros, Peter” <Peter.Petros@edelman.com>, “Edelman, John” <John.Edelman@edelman.com>, “Bush, Michael” <Michael.Bush@edelman.com>

Mark, I’m working with John on this … we’ll provide information on our carbon reduction policies and progress made… Can talk with you when you get out of your event this afternoon.

Climate Survey Full Response

Please find the answers to your questionnaire dated April 2, 2014 below. Edelman is a member of the United National Global Compact and we align with the environmental principles outlined in the Compact. Our UN Communication on Progress can be found Here.

Does your company acknowledge the threat and challenge of climate change as companies like Walmart, CocaCola, Apple, Google, AIG, Swiss Re, NRG, Unilever and others have done?

We align with United Nations Global Compact principles and produce an annual GRI report in which we report our environmental and CSR policies and results. Our FY13 Report can be found here.

Does your company have any internal carbon accounting policies or energy use reduction targets? Have you taken actions to reduce your “carbon footprint”?

Yes, we report our carbon footprint results and our environmental targets through our annual Citizenship Report.

Does your company have an internal Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy regarding climate change or the environment generally?

Yes, we have an internal CSR policy around environment.

Has your agency advised any client corporations on communications around CSR programs with a specific climate change focus, or on other climate change related public relations efforts?

We provide a variety of CSR and environmental services to a number of clients, but we cannot disclose information on specific clients.


John Edelman

Managing Director, Global Engagement and Corporate Responsibility


200 E. Randolph Street

Chicago, IL 60601

Clients and Campaigns

Responding to demand for positive marketing around environmental issues, Edelman created a ‘green’ wing called Edelman Social Purpose. This unit is small in comparison to the firm’s other units.

Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports (2012) Coal export terminal fight in the northwest backed by coal industry (Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, Ambre?).

American Petroleum Institute (2005-current)

American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) (2012), as reported by PR Week and other sources.  Not a public facing advertising campaign.

The oil and gas industry launched an astroturf campaign via a new group called “Mansfielders for Jobs,” which may have been founded by Energy Citizens, a front group of API and a PR campaign dreamed up by Edelman.

“Edelman Oilsands advice – embarrassing and wrong”: PR expert calls Edelman out for suggesting that developers of the Alberta tar sands have a public relations problem curable with better communications.