Extinction Rebellion uses LinkedIn ads to ask former employees at Shell, HSBC and Exxon to Whistleblow for the Planet - Extinction Rebellion UK

Extinction Rebellion uses LinkedIn ads to ask former employees at Shell, HSBC and Exxon to Whistleblow for the Planet

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Extinction Rebellion has launched a LinkedIn ad campaign targeting ex-employees from climate-damaging companies, inviting them to share insider information through its whistleblowing platform TruthTeller.Life. 

The online ads, addressed to former employees at Shell, Exxon and HSBC and featuring original artwork, invite former staff to share what they know about current or future projects that will harm the environment or worsen the climate crisis.

The ads are receiving exceptional levels of engagement, with a current average click through rate of 30%. A successful LinkedIn ad campaign would expect a 2% click through rate. 

This is TruthTeller’s second LinkedIn campaign and follows a series of ads served to current employees at Shell, HSBC, Exxon, Barclays, HS2 (High Speed Rail) Ltd and Standard Chartered bank.

Extinction Rebellion launched TruthTeller.Life on 6 February with a series of experimental, targeted direct action tactics which included: Unauthorised inserts in the Financial Times titled How to Save It, spoofing the paper’s glossy consumerist magazine How to Spend It. The insert was placed in copies of the Weekend FT in shops and newstands by XR volunteers across the capital; Calling card invites posted through letterboxes in affluent London neighbourhoods inviting senior company employees to Whistleblow for the Planet while they work from home [1]; And a series of boldly designed flyposters in bright XR colours.[2]

The current LinkedIn ad campaign follows the recent resignations of senior staff at Shell over its ’delusional’ net zero strategy published in February. Shell has been accused of greenwashing for continuing to invest $8 billion in fossil fuels, with only $2-3 billion to be spent on renewables and a ‘delusional’ reliance on tree planting.[3]

Both Exxon and HSBC have also been in the news recently. A former Exxon employee behind a whistleblower complaint in the US has accused the company of fraudulent behaviour in relation to its gas assets. Meanwhile, HSBC is facing a shareholder revolt over its continued financing of coal. The bank is the UK’s second largest funder of fossil fuels after Barclays. 

Coordinator of the TruthTeller project, Zoë Blackler, said“The public has a right to know about corporate plans that will harm the environment or worsen the climate crisis. Ex-employees, who know what’s been going on but who are no longer beholden to their former bosses, are just the people we need to hear from.”

TruthTeller recently raised over £19,000 in less than four days through a Chuffed crowdfunding appeal. The money raised will be used for future actions. 


1. Whistleblowing has risen by 35% in the financial sector. Auditor and risk consultant Deloitte, identifies working from home as one of the primary causes, and advises firms among other things, to improve their whistleblower support programmes.

2. The TruthTeller launch was covered in the FT and the Times. The launch press release is here.

3. 3 in 10 FTSE 100 companies including Shell and BP “are emitting carbon dioxide at a rate consistent with global temperature increases of 2.7C or more by 2050”. Supermarket Morrisons, retailer Next, hospitality company Whitebread and insurers Admiral Group are also on the list. 

4. For updates, follow the Twitter account @TruthTellerXR or visit the TruthTeller campaign page.

5. The TruthTeller crowdfunder appeal is on Chuffed.6. Editors and journalists who would like to discuss a potential collaboration can contact zoe@truthteller.life.

7. Anyone with information the public has a right to know, can visit www.TruthTeller.Life for detailed instructions on how to contact us safely and anonymously. Potential whistleblowers should not visit www.TruthTeller.Life from a work device.


Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and increasingly rapid climate change. If urgent and radical action isn’t taken, we’re heading towards 4˚C warming, and the societal collapse and mass loss of life that that implies. The younger generation, racially marginalised communities and the Global South are on the front-line. No-one will escape the devastating impacts.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

Get involved

  • In the UK, come to one of our events, join the Rebellion Network and let us know how you can help out.
  • Start a group where you are: in the UK or around the world.
  • Find your local group.
  • Check out the International XR website, with links to the French, German, Italian and UK websites.
  • And while your time and energy are of most importance, if you are financially able to donate money, see our crowdfunder.

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