BP & B-M in the UK: Greenwashers Under Fire

In Britain "Burson-Marsteller, the public relations agency used by the oil, GM, tobacco and chemical industries, is to represent the government's pollution watchdog, in a move that environmentalists yesterday described as 'barmy'." B-M's clients have included biotech behemoth Monsanto, and B-M's spying on food activists in the US in 1990 inspired the founding of PR Watch. Green activists in Britain are also blowing the whistle on the PR strategies of BP -- British Petroleum -- the oil giant that has marketed itself as "Beyond Petroleum." Activists in the group Rising Tide are demonstrating and leafleting, noting that "BP invests less than 1% of its annual budget on solar and other renewable energy sources, a great deal less than they spend on advertising and public relations." B-M, BP and other greenwashing corporations have long been pursuing a strategy of co-opting UK environmental activists, as Andy Rowell has reported in PR Watch. In 2002 Lord Peter Melchett, former head of Greenpeace UK, joined B-M.