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ADVERTISING LAWS

France bans fossil fuel adverts, but enviro groups still unhappy

By our News Team | 2022

Sponsorships and certain other forms of marketing are still permissible in spite of the ban, Greenpeace and other activist groups complain.

Last month, France became the first country in Europe to ban fossil fuel advertisements. But now some of the activist groups that have been calling for such restrictions are not happy.

They claim there are too many loopholes in the legislation and that there is still extensive scope for greenwashing by the companies involved.

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Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

“You will read everywhere that advertising for fossil fuels is now prohibited, but that’s not true,” Greenpeace France tweeted. “Ads for gas can continue [and] patronage, sponsorship, institutional communication and financial advertising on fossil products remain authorised.”

“This is not a law that is going to bring about change,” warned François Chartier, a Greenpeace campaigner, in an interview with The Times of London.

French-based energy company Total, for example, will still be sponsoring the 2023 Rugby World Cup. It has a significant international viewing audience and the previous tournament attracted a TV viewership of almost 900-million.

French supermarkets may not advertise cheap petrol

According to The Times report, under the new French law, supermarket chains cannot run advertisements for cheap petrol, for instance. And advertisements for natural gas will be banned from the beginning of next year.

“The initial proposal by the climate convention was to outlaw any form of advertising by oil companies,” the newspaper said. “In practice, the measure has been scaled back. Some advertising will be permissible for fuels that have some renewable energy content or adhere to certain criteria.”

Meanwhile, greenwashing experts in the UK seem to agree that stronger legislation around fossil fuel advertising is required.

“According to legal and regulatory standards, environmental claims in advertising must match scientific evidence. Often, this is as much about what adverts don’t say as what they do say,” wrote Johnny White, a lawyer from Client Earth and Jonathan Wise, co-founder of Purpose Disruptors, in the marketing industry publication, The Drum.

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