City of Sydney votes to end fossil fuel advertising

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 23 August 2022
Fossil Ad Ban campaign. Image: Supplied

The City of Sydney has decided to prevent coal, oil and gas from being promoted on its properties and events.

A successful motion to the council, by deputy mayor Jess Scully: "The City of Sydney should also investigate ways to restrict fossil fuel advertising and Council should not accept sponsorships from companies whose main business is the extraction or sale of coal, oil and gas."

The city accepts sponsorships for events such as New Year’s Eve and has one of the largest outdoor advertising networks in the world, seen by more than 2 million people a week.

Scully told the council meeting: “I think this is the moment we can draw a line in the sand and say ‘not here’ and ‘no more’ because we know that the people of the City of Sydney do want climate action, they do want us to move away from a fossil-fuel dependent economy and they do know that to do that we need to get rid of the whitewashing, get rid of the self-promotion that the sector is doing.”

Lord mayor Clover Moore: “This is a really important action that we’re taking here.”

Sydney’s move follows an open letter from more than 200 health professionals and organisations, asking for Fossil Ad Bans because of the devastating health and climate effects of burning coal, oil and gas.

Comms Declare, a coalition for positive climate action from the communication, creative and advertising sector, created the Fossil Ad Ban campaign to achieve tobacco-style bans on ads and sponsorships for fossil fuels at local, state and federal levels.

In April, Yarra became the first council in Australia to move to restrict the promotion of fossil fuels on council-run property, followed by Moreland in July.

Comms Declare founder Belinda Noble: “Congratulations to the people of Sydney, your streets and events will soon be free of the insidious promotion of toxic fossil fuels.

“While we transition to cleaner energy it's imperative that legacy industries are not allowed to greenwash their businesses or delay emissions reduction efforts.

“I look forward to working with the City of Sydney to help implement these restrictions and hope other Australian cities and councils will similarly prioritise the health and wellbeing of their communities by preventing the promotion of pollution.”

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