Press release: 27 May 2020

Questions remain unanswered about BPs climate ‘advocacy’: ClientEarth

Environmental lawyers from ClientEarth are calling for oil giant BP to reveal more detail about its new public advocacy strategy after raising a question at the company’s annual general meeting today.

Earlier this year BP announced that it would ‘stop corporate reputation advertising and redirect resources to active advocacy for progressive climate policies’. This followed public criticism and a world-first complaint from ClientEarth alleging the company was misleading the public about its role in fuelling climate change.

At today’s AGM, lawyers with the environmental charity called on BP to be transparent about its future advocacy plan – including making public how much it will spend on advocacy and revealing what it would be advocating for – to show it is serious about aligning its lobbying activities with the Paris Agreement.

BP CEO Bernard Looney addressed the question but failed to outline more detail about its advocacy plans beyond the company’s support for ‘well-designed’ policies.

ClientEarth lawyer Sophie Marjanac said: “BP received a lot of kudos for committing to change its public advocacy approach and cancelling its massive ad campaign focusing on its clean energy investments.

“But it’s still unclear how much the oil giant will spend on its new advocacy drive and whether its political and public positions will help or hinder the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“BP’s commitment to end corporate reputation advertising is to be welcomed, as is its decision to finally quit some trade associations with a long history of climate denial. But its political and public advocacy must now be for climate policies in line with Paris.

“We’ll be watching closely to see whether BP’s Net Zero plan means relying on carbon offsetting to avoid reducing the emissions from its operations and products.”

ClientEarth submitted the following question at the company’s AGM:

Environmental lawyers from ClientEarth welcome Bernard Looney’s announcement to end the ‘Possibilities Everywhere’ advertising campaign, as part of the company committing to ‘stop corporate reputation advertising and redirect resources to active advocacy for progressive climate policies’.

Given BP has faced criticism in the past for its approach to its advertising, public advocacy and political lobbying, how will the company ensure transparency around its future advocacy spending and activities, and demonstrate publically that any advocacy is in line with goals of the Paris Agreement?


About ClientEarth

ClientEarth is a charity that uses the power of the law to protect people and the planet. We are international lawyers finding practical solutions for the world’s biggest environmental challenges. We are fighting climate change, protecting oceans and wildlife, making forest governance stronger, greening energy, making business more responsible and pushing for government transparency. We believe the law is a tool for positive change. From our offices in London, Brussels, Warsaw, Berlin and Beijing, we work on laws throughout their lifetime, from the earliest stages to implementation. And when those laws are broken, we go to court to enforce them.