IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/spr/climat/v169y2021i1d10.1007_s10584-021-03244-4.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The role of public relations firms in climate change politics

Author

Listed:
  • Robert J. Brulle

    (Brown University)

  • Carter Werthman

    (Brown University)

Abstract

Climate change policy has long been subject to influence by a wide variety of organizations. Despite their importance, the key role of public relations (PR) firms has long been overlooked in the climate political space. This paper provides an exploratory overview of the extent and nature of involvement of PR firms in climate political action by organizations in five sectors: Coal/Steel/Rail, Oil & Gas, Utilities, Renewable Energy, and the Environmental Movement. The analysis shows that the engagement of public relations firms by organizations in all of these sectors is widespread. In absolute terms, the Utility and Gas & Oil sectors engage the most PR firms, and the Environmental Movement engages the fewest. Organizations in the Utilities Sector show a statistically significant higher use of PR firms than the other sectors. Within each sector, engagement of PR firms is concentrated in a few firms, and the major oil companies and electrical-supply manufactures are the heaviest employers of such firms. PR firms generally specialize in representing specific sectors, and a few larger PR firms are widely engaged in climate and energy political activity. PR firms developed campaigns that frequently relied on third-party groups to engage with the public, criticize opponents, and serve as the face of an advertising campaign. Our analysis shows that PR firms are a key organizational actor in climate politics.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Brulle & Carter Werthman, 2021. "The role of public relations firms in climate change politics," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 169(1), pages 1-21, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:169:y:2021:i:1:d:10.1007_s10584-021-03244-4
    DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03244-4
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10584-021-03244-4
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1007/s10584-021-03244-4?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Aronczyk, Melissa, 2018. "Public Relations, Issue Management, and the Transformation of American Environmentalism, 1948–1992," Enterprise & Society, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 836-863, December.
    2. Charles Cho & Dennis Patten & Robin Roberts, 2006. "Corporate Political Strategy: An Examination of the Relation between Political Expenditures, Environmental Performance, and Environmental Disclosure," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 67(2), pages 139-154, August.
    3. Matthew H. Goldberg & Abel Gustafson & Seth A. Rosenthal & Anthony Leiserowitz, 2021. "Shifting Republican views on climate change through targeted advertising," Nature Climate Change, Nature, vol. 11(7), pages 573-577, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Faye Holder & Sanober Mirza & Namson-Ngo-Lee & Jake Carbone & Ruth E. McKie, 2023. "Climate obstruction and Facebook advertising: how a sample of climate obstruction organizations use social media to disseminate discourses of delay," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 176(2), pages 1-21, February.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Robert J. Brulle & Melissa Aronczyk & Jason Carmichael, 2020. "Corporate promotion and climate change: an analysis of key variables affecting advertising spending by major oil corporations, 1986–2015," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 159(1), pages 87-101, March.
    2. Rafia Afrin & Ni Peng & Frances Bowen, 2022. "The Wealth Effect of Corporate Water Actions: How Past Corporate Responsibility and Irresponsibility Influence Stock Market Reactions," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 180(1), pages 105-124, September.
    3. Charles H. Cho & Jonathan Maurice & Emmanuelle Nègre & Marie-Anne Verdier, 2016. "Is environmental disclosure good for the environment? A meta-analysis and research agenda," Post-Print halshs-01369422, HAL.
    4. Tom Thomas & Eric Lamm, 2012. "Legitimacy and Organizational Sustainability," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 110(2), pages 191-203, October.
    5. Xingqiang Du & Jianying Weng & Quan Zeng & Yingying Chang & Hongmei Pei, 2017. "Do Lenders Applaud Corporate Environmental Performance? Evidence from Chinese Private-Owned Firms," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 143(1), pages 179-207, June.
    6. Charles H. Cho & Matias Laine & Robin W. Roberts & Michelle Rodrigue, 2018. "The Frontstage and Backstage of Corporate Sustainability Reporting: Evidence from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Bill," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 152(3), pages 865-886, October.
    7. Wendy Heltzer, 2011. "The asymmetric relationship between corporate environmental responsibility and earnings management: Evidence from the United States," Managerial Auditing Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 26(1), pages 65-88, January.
    8. Grueso Gala, Melanie & Camisón Zornoza, César, 2022. "A bibliometric analysis of the literature on non-financial information reporting: Review of the research and network visualization," Cuadernos de Gestión, Universidad del País Vasco - Instituto de Economía Aplicada a la Empresa (IEAE).
    9. Pantzalis, Christos & Park, Jung Chul, 2014. "Too close for comfort? Geographic propinquity to political power and stock returns," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 57-78.
    10. Alexander A. Kaurov & Viktoria Cologna & Charlie Tyson & Naomi Oreskes, 2022. "Trends in American scientists’ political donations and implications for trust in science," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 9(1), pages 1-8, December.
    11. Torelli, Riccardo & Balluchi, Federica & Lazzini, Arianna, 2019. "Greenwashing and Environmental Communication: Effects on Stakeholders’ Perceptions," OSF Preprints 97vxn, Center for Open Science.
    12. Camélia Radu & Nadia Smaili, 2021. "Corporate performance patterns of Canadian listed firms: Balancing financial and corporate social responsibility outcomes," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(7), pages 3344-3359, November.
    13. Cho, Charles H. & Chen, Jennifer C. & Roberts, Robin W., 2008. "The politics of environmental disclosure regulation in the chemical and petroleum industries: Evidence from the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986," CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 450-465.
    14. Linda Kusumaning Wedari & Christine Jubb & Amir Moradi‐Motlagh, 2021. "Corporate climate‐related voluntary disclosures: Does potential greenwash exist among Australian high emitters reports?," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(8), pages 3721-3739, December.
    15. Charles Cho & Martin Martens & Hakkyun Kim & Michelle Rodrigue, 2011. "Astroturfing Global Warming: It Isn’t Always Greener on the Other Side of the Fence," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 104(4), pages 571-587, December.
    16. Ashrafee Hossain & Samir Saadi & Abu S. Amin, 2023. "Does CEO Risk-Aversion Affect Carbon Emission?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 182(4), pages 1171-1198, February.
    17. Tessa Buchanan & James Ackland & Sam Lloyd & Sander Linden & Lee de-Wit, 2022. "Clear consensus among international public for government action at COP26: patriotic and public health frames produce marginal gains in support," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 170(3), pages 1-8, February.
    18. Hummel, Katrin & Schlick, Christian, 2013. "Zusammenhang zwischen Nachhaltigkeitsperformance und Nachhaltigkeitsberichterstattung – Legitimität oder finanzielle Überlegungen?," Die Unternehmung - Swiss Journal of Business Research and Practice, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, vol. 67(1), pages 36-61.
    19. Burmester, Brent, 2016. "Upgrading or unhelpful? Defiant corporate support for a marine protected area," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 206-212.
    20. Cho, Charles H. & Roberts, Robin W. & Patten, Dennis M., 2010. "The language of US corporate environmental disclosure," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 431-443, May.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:169:y:2021:i:1:d:10.1007_s10584-021-03244-4. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.