Complaints have been filed with B Lab to strip Havas of its certifications.
Duncan Meisel, executive director of Clean Creatives, said working with fossil fuel companies is incompatible with B Corp brand values and there is “a very good chance” that the Havas agencies will lose their B Corp certification over the Shell business.
“Havas Media is not a B Corp, but Havas offices that are B Corp will have to work on this contract because of the way the company is structured, and you are not pursuing B Corp’s goals of creating a better business environment for the planet by working with Shell,” Meisel said. “I feel terrible for the people that have done that work and have been betrayed by this decision that was out of their hands.”
WPP’s GroupM previously held the account. WPP is not B Corp certified.
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“Our level of commitment towards sustainability at Havas remains unchanged. We greatly value and respect B-Lab and the rigorous B-Corp process,” Havas said in a statement. “Havas’ creative agencies, including Havas New York, Havas London, Havas Lemz [Amsterdam] and Havas Immerse [Kulala Lumpur, Malaysia] that currently hold B-Corp certification, remain committed to their sustainability goals, alongside all our other agencies around the world. They welcome the opportunity to dialogue with B-Lab.”
A spokesperson from B Lab said the organization is reviewing Havas’ relationship to Shell as part of B Lab’s Public Complaint Process, including requesting internal documents from Havas. Reviewing is the first step in the process to decide whether a formal investigation is warranted and typically ends within 90 days of a complaint being filed.
“We want to stress that we’re committed to following due process, which means that we’re not always able to come to a decision when many would like us to,” B Lab said in a statement addressed to all inquirers. “We ask for your patience during this time, and hope you can respect the established procedures we have in place.”