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Airlines criticised over adverts that contained ‘misleading’ environmental claims

todayDecember 6, 2023 3

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Airlines criticised over adverts that contained ‘misleading’ environmental claims

Adverts for three airlines have been banned by a regulator for giving consumers a misleading impression of their environmental credentials.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the Google ads seen in July for Air France, Lufthansa and Etihad must not be published again.

The ad for Air France, the watchdog explained, had stated that it was “committed to protecting the environment” and had urged consumers to “travel better and sustainably” amid the fight against climate change.

Lufthansa had suggested that its customers would “Fly more sustainably” while Etihad’s ad claimed its service included “Environmental Advocacy”.

The ASA said Air France had not fully engaged with its inquiry.

Lufthansa agreed to remove the phrase “fly more sustainably” from future advertising but told the ASA it was a reference to its “Green Fares” option, which passengers could select on European flights and reduced 20% of flight-related CO2 emissions by using sustainable aviation fuel.

Etihad said it had immediately removed all references to “Environmental advocacy” from its paid-for Google search ads in the UK upon receiving the ASA’s ruling.

The regulator said air travel produces high levels of both carbon dioxide and non-CO2 emissions, which are making a substantial contribution to climate change.

Its statement said: “In the absence of any evidence demonstrating that Air France were protecting the environment and making aviation sustainable, we concluded that the claims gave consumers a misleading impression of the impact that travelling with Air France would have on the environment.”

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It ruled that the basis of Lufthansa’s Green Fares option should have been made clear in its ad and that Etihad had not demonstrated evidence of environmental advocacy.

An Etihad spokesman said: “Sustainability is a key priority for Etihad, which runs a comprehensive programme to address aviation decarbonisation, working to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment by investing billions into its fleet of modern, fuel-efficient aircraft, research into sustainable aviation fuels, as well as carbon offsetting and reforestation through the Etihad Mangroves.

“The airline will continue to take bold and innovative steps including partnering with aircraft and engine manufacturers, sustainable fuel suppliers, academia and innovators to make flying more sustainable than it would be without such steps.”

Lufthansa said: “We have taken note of the decision of the UK ASA. Lufthansa regrets that the Google advertisement in question lacked the explanation of the further basis for the statement ‘fly more sustainable’.

“For effective climate protection, the Lufthansa Group is focusing on accelerated fleet modernisation, the use of sustainable aviation fuel, the continuous optimisation of flight operations, and offers for its private travellers and corporate customers to make a flight or the transport of cargo more sustainable.”

Written by: Newsroom

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