The Drum asked us to share our views on how agencies can manage the moral disquiet of staff around fossil fuels. Head of Brand Voice Nick Hynes shared his view.
Last week, 239 agencies were highlighted for their work with fossil fuel clients in the F-List, an annual index of marketing firms involved with polluting clients. With a harsh spotlight on agencies that work with fossil fuel clients, more young creatives, such as Charlotte Cunningham, are speaking out about their disillusionment with the agency sector.
But managers have only a handful of options to mollify disgruntled colleagues, short of swearing off fossil fuel clients altogether. Few agencies have enough employees on hand to allow staff to opt out of working with clients they have moral objections to, as many do for tobacco clients, for example.
So, how should agencies respond to the moral objections of staff? Is it possible to balance controversial yet lucrative clients with corporate sustainability and climate pledges? We asked hundreds of agency contacts for their take – and four were brave enough to respond."
Thompson's Head of Brand Voice, Nick Hynes, commented:
"As a group of people, we’ve always shared a similar set of values around doing work that’s good for people and good for the planet. That’s meant we’ve gravitated towards certain clients and avoided others. We talk openly about this when we recruit, so there are no great surprises about who we work with or why. In fact, our roster of purpose-driven, human-centered clients is often the reason people join us. If ever there are questions around a client’s business, we’ll do as we’ve always done – discuss it openly and together decide whether it’s work we want to do."