Edelman PR

Edelman

Named after its founder, Daniel Edelman, Edelman is the largest independent PR firm currently operating. Edelman also once operated an advertising agency called Blue Advertising, but Blue has since divested and become an independent company.

Edelman remains the dominant PR firm for trade associations that promote an anti-environmental agenda. Edelman is currently contracting for the National Association of Manufacturers, National Mining Association, and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers – major players in the fossil fuel industry’s fight against environmental protections. In 2015, the same year Edelman stopped contracting with API, NAM and AFPM joined the US Chamber of Commerce and others in filing a petition for review to block the implementation of the Clean Power Plan, one of the most significant regulatory actions on climate change in US history.

Annual Income From Fees in 2017: $893,591,000

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

Trade Association WorkHistory and Background2018 Climate Survey Response2014 Climate Survey ResponseClients and Campaigns

The American Petroleum Institute was once one of Edelman’s largest contracts, so large that API made up 10% of Edelman’s global revenue in 2010. 2012 was the last year API paid Edelman as a top 5 contractor (API may still use Edelman, but the contract hasn’t shown up on any recent 990s). In total API paid $327.4 million dollars for Edelman’s services since 2008. In 2013, API switched from paying Edelman as their top PR company to Blue Advertising. No advertising, PR, or “advocacy” groups hired by API has matched the size of Edelman or Blue Advertising’s contracts. Blue has received $112.4 million in revenue from API since they were first contracted in 2013.

In addition to their monster contracts with API, Edelman has been contracted by various trade associations, spanning all corners of the fossil fuel market.

Edelman trade association contracts

Edelman’s trade association client contracts since 2008.

The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, a fossil fuel and petrochemical trade association, has used Edelman’s services since 2012, and Edelman has been their top paid contractor every year, except 2012. AFPM paid Edelman $4 million in 2014, but shrunk their contract to $1.5 million in 2016. In total, AFPM has paid Edelman $12.3 million since 2012.

With smaller contracts, Edelman has also been paid by the National Mining Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Edison Electric Institute. The National Mining Association has used Edelman’s services since 2010, paying them a total of $8.7 million. Since 2012, Edelman has received $3.8 million from the National Association of Manufacturers and $1.8 million from the Edison Electric Institute.

Edelman remains the dominant PR firm for associations that promote an anti-environmental agenda. Despite ending their contract with the American Petroleum Institute in 2015, Edelman is currently contracting for the National Association of Manufacturers, National Mining Association, and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers -major players in the fossil fuel industry’s fight against environmental protections. In 2015, the same year Edelman left API, NAM and AFPM joined the US Chamber of Commerce and others in filing a petition for review to block the implementation of the Clean Power Plan, one of the most significant regulatory actions on climate change in US history.

From 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.

Address: 200 E Randolph Street #63 Chicago, IL

Phone: (312) 240-3000

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

Background Resources on Edelman PR

2018 Climate Survey Response

John Edelman, Edelman’s Managing Director of Global Engagement and Corporate Responsibility, responded to our 2018 survey. Tightening their stance on climate change since 2014, Edelman states, “Edelman fully recognizes the reality of, and science behind, climate change, and believes it represents one of the most important global challenges facing society, business and government today. To be clear, we do not accept client assignments that aim to deny climate change.”

Read their full response below:

2018 Climate Survey Response



Edelman Richard CIC Survey Response 2018 (Text)

2014 Climate Survey Response

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 <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Re: Climate Investigations Center inquiry
To: Climate Investigations Center <[email protected]>
Cc: “Petros, Peter” <[email protected]>, “Edelman, John” <[email protected]>, “Rehg, Rob” <[email protected]>, “Bush, Michael” <[email protected]>

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” <[email protected]> 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 <[email protected]>

Date: Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 12:37 PM
Subject: RE: Climate Investigations Center inquiry
To: “Hass, Mark” <[email protected]>, Climate Investigations Center <[email protected]>
Cc: “Petros, Peter” <[email protected]>, “Edelman, John” <[email protected]>, “Bush, Michael” <[email protected]>

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.

Best,

John Edelman

Managing Director, Global Engagement and Corporate Responsibility

Edelman

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)

  • API was once one of Edelman’s largest contracts, so large that API made up 10% of Edelman’s global revenue in 2010. 2012 was the last year API paid Edelman as a top 5 contractor (API may still use Edelman, but the contract hasn’t shown up on any 990s since 2012). In total API paid $327.4 million dollars for Edelman’s services since 2008. In 2013, API switched from paying Edelman as their top PR company to Blue Advertising, at the time a subsidiary of Edelman. Blue has received $112.4 million in revenue from API since they were first contracted in 2013.
  • Energy Citizens campaign: “I’m an Energy Voter” (2009-present) including an Ohio pro-fracking fight in 2012 that incorporated newspaper and Metro ads.
  • Vote4Energy (2012): Election cycle campaign within Energy Citizens campaign.
  • Keystone XL pipeline fight (2013).

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.

The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, a fossil fuel and petrochemical trade association, has used Edelman’s services since 2012, and Edelman has been their top paid contractor every year, except 2012. AFPM paid Edelman $4 million in 2014, but shrunk their contract to $1.5 million in 2016. In total, AFPM has paid Edelman $12.3 million since 2012.