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Pr War: Pr Strategies Of The Fossil Fuel Industry And Its Opponents


  • David McQueen

    (Bournemouth University, UK)


The paper presents an analysis of relations between the fossil fuel industry and its opponents. The paper will explore how different weapons in a ‘PR war’ contribute to particular policy and public opinion outcomes. The paper revisits the Deepwater Horizon crisis and looks at how campaigning groups such as Greenpeace effectively discredited BP, its crisis communications and the ‘Beyond Petroleum’ CSR strategy. It will also contrast campaigns in Ireland, Nigeria and the Arctic against the oil company Shell and look at the use of digital media and low and no budget documentary films in ‘activist PR’ campaigns. The paper will show how the public relations war has had uneven outcomes with charities sometimes winning the battle for public opinion, whilst energy corporations and interests have been more successful in setting the agenda for legislative and policy changes and winning elite opinion. This success has been in part due to corporation’s success in mobilising third party endorsement and working together through industry bodies, business networks, policy planning groups and front groups – a strategy that campaigning groups and activists would do well to learn from.

Suggested Citation

  • David McQueen, 2013. "Pr War: Pr Strategies Of The Fossil Fuel Industry And Its Opponents," Social Responsibility, Ethics and Sustainable Business 37, Bucharest University of Economic Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aes:icsrog:wpaper:37

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