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Title:Revealed: BP’s 'greenwashing’ social media ads as anger over fuel costs rose
Date:8/6/2022 3:00:07 AM

Oil company spent £800,000 on social media influence ads after Labour proposed windfall tax

BP has spent more than £800,000 on social media influence ads in the UK this year that champion the company’s investments in green energy, it can be revealed.

On Tuesday, BP announced a 14-year high profit of £7bn for the second quarter of this year. In the previous eight days, the company paid about £570,000 to Facebook and Instagram for influence ads that reached tens of millions of viewers in the UK.

“These ads are intended to create a clean warm glow about the companies concerned, giving them more social licence to operate,” said Doug Parr, chief scientist for Greenpeace UK.

The influence ads, which also emphasise BP’s contributions to UK energy security, began two days after Labour proposed a windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas in January. BP’s spending on these ads escalated in the weeks before Rishi Sunak announced an “energy profits levy” on 26 May, the investigation by Eco-Bot.Net and the Guardian found. “Backing Britain: delivering homegrown energy” read many of the ads in green script across a map of the UK.

“Corporate interests have used advertising for many years to improve their reputation. And when it comes to corporate taxes, reputation matters to politicians,” said Laura Edelson, a researcher in online political communication at New York University.

The influence ads promote BP’s plan to “transition to net zero” by gradually reducing oil and gas production and investing more in “low carbon” and renewable energy sources.

“BP are presenting themselves as offering green solutions that are good for the UK, but these investments are dwarfed by how much money they’re funnelling into fossil fuels,” said Parr. “They’re doing this while making record profits and as millions of UK households are being pushed into fuel poverty.”

BP has some of the more ambitious energy transition plans among oil and gas majors, but...

Organization:Guardian - Climate Change
Date Added:8/6/2022 6:37:04 AM