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The SA campaign for fossil fuel divestment
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Clean Creatives South Africa – Civil Society Letter

Mon, 03/20/2023 - 03:06

21 March 2023

This Human Rights Day, a coalition of 22 organisations is calling on South African PR and advertising agencies to decline future work from fossil fuel companies, industry associations and related front groups as they continue their decades-long efforts to undermine climate action.

The stakes could not be higher. From devastating floods to droughts and extreme heat, South Africa is already feeling the effects of climate change, and this is just the beginning. 

The continued prioritisation of fossil fuels over cheaper, cleaner alternatives is hurting the economy, the environment and human health — with poor and vulnerable communities worst affected as they are least prepared to cope with floods, heatwaves, droughts and food shortages. Further, fossil fuel air pollution causes 1 in 5 deaths globally — an astonishing 8 million deaths annually.

As civil society, environmental and climate justice organisations, our work is undermined by advertising and PR campaigns that promote fossil fuel companies and deflect from the immense harm their activities are causing. These campaigns, which mirror those used in the tobacco industry decades ago, greenwash oil, gas and coal companies in an attempt to slow or block meaningful change.

They drown out the voices of concerned citizens across our country and around the world, while effectively silencing communities on the frontlines of this crisis. They are inauthentic and antithetical to the purpose and mission of our organisations.

It’s time for PR and ad agencies to come clean, end their work with the fossil fuel industry, and be a force for good, rather than part of the problem. Scientists at the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have specifically called out the creative industry for hampering efforts to prevent a full-blown climate catastrophe, and we must heed those calls.

Together, we can stand on the right side of history, and support those organisations that are genuinely working to effect meaningful change — rather than those that only pretend to. 


Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation
Greenpeace Africa
The Centre For Environmental Rights
The Green Connection
African Climate Reality Project
Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute, SAFCEI
South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
Just Share
Climate Action Network South Africa
Earthlife Africa
African Climate Alliance
Fossil Free South Africa
Extinction Rebellion Cape Town
Don’t Gas Africa
Friends of the Liesbeek
Green Anglicans
Goldfields Community Forum
The Wild Law Institute
UCT Green Campus Initiative

[UPDATED: New Signatories added below]

Natural Justice


Sign the Clean Creatives pledge here.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Clean Creatives SA Attends Advertising Week Africa

Fri, 03/17/2023 - 06:51

16 February 2023

by Molebo Sehume

Advertising Week Africa 2023 had its inaugural debut in February 2023 at Vodaworld in Midrand. It was quite energising to be at an industry do and see familiar faces, especially after COVID ensured we all stayed well in-doors. It was good to hear industry news and mingle with various industry players as there were agency people, media buyers and generally all different types of talent who work within this industry.  

e-Media Investments partnered up with Hart Entertainment to make this possible for local audiences. It was very well received judging by the venue which was packed to capacity. There were great creative talks, with various topics and the creative industry heads, such as Mark Scheckner – the Global CEO at Advertising Week and Tebogo Malope – Film Director & Partner at the Star Films. 

“Content creation” were the key buzzwords on the day. Talks focused heavily on content creation; distribution channels; understanding audience research; new technologies and the efficient use of social media influencers.

Clean Creatives SA’s Molebo Sehume was in attendance at Advertising Week Africa.

There was hardly any mention of climate change communication and how fossil fuel companies are yet to account for their huge emissions. There were also no climate activists – however I did manage to interact with some of the delegates in the pause areas, and they all agreed that Clean Creatives is embarking on a mammoth task, but one that’s needed. 

The comedian Kevin Hart delivered the Opening Talk in his comical way although I found it quite hearty and warm. Interestingly, he reiterated what we all know about, “brand Africa” and how it’s perceived in the Western World, still as “The Dark Continent,” yet has produced some amazing talent from sporting heroes; entertainment personalities and world respected leaders and hence the importance for him and his team to travel here to unearth new content and new talent.

The next part of the conversation for creativity in Africa is how we will use the power of creativity to shift the conversation on climate change, and rapidly phase out working with fossil fuel clients. The African continent is considered to be the most vulnerable region in the world to climate change, and so as an advertising industry, it’s vital that we start this conversation on our continent as soon as possible.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Clean Creatives SA Engages the Durban Creative and PR Industry

Fri, 03/17/2023 - 06:31

DURBAN, 17 February 2023

by Stephen Horn

It was great to go back to my hometown to connect with the Durban creative and PR community for Clean Creatives. Durban is a city which faced devastating floods last year which caused over 450 deaths and 40,000 people to be displaced, so many people have a visceral, personal connection to the climate crisis.

Unfortunately the fossil fuel industry is planning ever more expansion of fossil fuel extraction across the world, including in South Africa, and misleading the public with deceptive greenwashing and climate misinformation.

As NASA scientist Peter Kalmus says, we need to get into climate emergency mode, and that means cutting ties with the fossil fuel industry as quickly as possible, while ensuring that transition is just.

We also were joined by groundWork director and veteran environmental activist, Bobby Peek. Bobby has been working with communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis, those affected by fossil fuel industry pollution and displacement, for years. He gave a great insight into the current global state of affairs in climate politics and the on the ground realities for the creative and communications professionals present.

It was so encouraging that several folks who attended the session have signed our pledge committing to declining work with climate polluters. And the more creatives we get on board, the more we shift the narrative. Creatives and communication professionals have this superpower.

Thanks to Rory Rieseberg from Take Note Reputation Management and Sharlene Versfeld (See her agency – now a Clean Creatives pledge signer – here) for helping me set up this event and Janelle Barnard from Love Africa Marketing for snapping this pic of me in presentation mode!

Based in Durban and keen to connect to fellow Durban clean creatives? Get in touch and we will connect you. Email stephen[at]

Categories: G2. Local Greens

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