SAN FRANCISCO — In a move solidifying its stance on climate change, Allison has signed on with Clean Creatives, becoming the largest agency to formally commit to refuse work from fossil fuel companies.

Allison (formerly Allison+Partners) signed Clean Creative’s pledge to not work with Big Oil on the heels of Climate Week in September, an annual event Clean Creatives has historically used as occasion to target agencies who work with fossil fuel companies.

With more than 1,000 employees in 50 markets, Allison is the largest agency that has committed to Clean Creatives' pledge. The firm joins more than 600 agencies, creatives and freelancers globally that also have done so.

"This is an important step for our agency and reinforces our vision to use the power of creativity to build up everyone around us,” said CEO Scott Allison. “Many of our clients are on the leading edge of addressing climate change, and our work helping them tell their stories and scale their impact is core to our ambition to harness the power of culture for positive change.”

Allison’s impact work is led by its Purpose Center of Excellence — a dedicated team in partnership with sister agency Headstand — which specializes in purpose brand strategy and sustainability leadership that helps clients establish, communicate and measure sustainability goals and strategies. 

Allison signing the pledge is a win for Clean Creatives, which has waged a hard-fought battle to get agencies to sever ties with fossil fuel companies. During the 2022 Climate Week, Clean Creatives plastered parts of lower Manhattan with posters calling on agencies — most notably Edelman — to drop their fossil fuel clients.

Three days earlier, UN Secretary-General António Guterres blasted PR agencies for “raking in billions” by downplaying fossil fuel clients’ detrimental effect on the climate — and said they should pay for doing so.

And less than a week before that, federal legislators ramped up their probe into PR firms’ relationships with Big Oil companies with a congressional hearing that investigated the industry’s role in spreading deceptive information.

In January 2022, more than 450 scientists called on PR and advertising firms to stop working with fossil fuel companies.

The effort was coordinated in partnership with the Union of Concerned Scientists and Clean Creatives, which in November, launched a high-profile celebrity and influencer campaign calling on Edelman to drop fossil fuel clients.

Two weeks earlier, Edelman unveiled a series of actions it pledged to take in response to those calls, which include walking away from companies that do not meet a series of criteria on climate action. At that time, Edelman identified 20 emissions-intensive clients for follow-up discussions after a 60-day review of its portfolio.

Edelman, however, stopped short of dropping fossil fuel companies across-the-board, saying its work pushing clients toward achieving net zero goals is more productive than walking away.