Advertising Code Committee reprimands Shell for ‘CO2 neutral’ claim

September 10, 2021 by No Comments

Advertisements from oil and gas company Shell with the claim ‘CO2-neutral’ are misleading. That is what the Advertising Code Committee ruled on Friday. Nine law students from VU Amsterdam and concerned citizen André Kodde had separately filed complaints against advertisements in which Shell promised to reduce CO2 for an extra cent per liter.2emissions from a refueling session can be fully offset by planting trees and preserving forests.

‘The complainants have substantiated, with reference to scientific publications, that CO2-neutral driving is out of the question, because according to them emissions and offsetting activities cannot be directly compared, let alone that they can be crossed out against each other”, says the Advertising Code Committee. The committee points out that environmental claims must be demonstrably correct, which places a heavy burden of proof on advertisers. It is not enough that Shell has made it plausible that there is some compensation, that the projects have been carefully selected and that they meet strict requirements. That is why the Advertising Code Committee recommends that the oil company no longer advertise in this way.

“It is completely right that Shell is now being tackled because their climate ambitions rely to a large extent on CO2compensation”, responds campaign coordinator Femke Sleegers of Advertising Fossielvrij. “This statement goes further than Shell, because many companies promise their customers that they will save CO . by planting trees2– be able to drive or travel neutrally. They can’t say that anymore.”

Last year, the committee ruled in a case against KLM that the airline was advertising biofuels in a misleading way. KLM advertised a lot about sustainability, when in reality only 0.18 percent of the fleet flew on biofuel.

Shell can still appeal the rulings in both cases, but has not yet responded to the decision of the Advertising Code Committee.