Walkley awards turn its back on fossil fuel sponsors

By AdNews | 16 May 2024
Credit: Scott Rodgerson via Unsplash

The Walkley Foundation, following pressure from a group of journalists and from environmental activists, has distanced its journalism awards from its founding sponsor, Ampol.

The foundation will not renew the oil company's platinum sponsorship, said to run to six figures, when it runs out in October

Sir William Gaston Walkley, the founder of Ampol, backed the awards when they were started in 1956. 

The new Walkley sponsorship policy: "The Foundation does not accept money from companies or individuals that it deems to pose a significant reputational risk due to the nature of their dealings that offer no tangible benefit to humanity."

Walkley Foundation CEO Shona Martyn said Ampol’s multi-faceted support of the Walkley Foundation has assisted with archiving decades of groundbreaking stories and photographs.

"Its support for the Opportunity Scholarships recognised the importance to the media industry of ensuring greater diversity by providing a pathway for young would-be journalists from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds," Martyn said.

Comms Declare, the Australian activist group working to convince agencies away from fossil fuel clients, said this is a significant step in dealing with the new reality that fossil fuels are doing more harm than good.

The climate communications wrote to the Walkley’s with concerns about the Ampol sponsorship in February 2023, and sent the foundation an open letter from previous winners in November.

“We are very grateful to the Foundation and the brave cartoonists and journalists that publicly stood up against fossil fuel influence peddling, Comms Declare founder Belinda Noble said.

"Coal, oil and gas companies are a reputational risk to anyone that helps promote them, and that risk will only grow as the climate becomes more unstable."


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